We all know about Fernando Alonso’s abysmal luck this year, with a trail of broken engines left wherever he seems to race. Max Verstappen is certainly Alonso’s bad luck buddy, as he’s retired five times in the past seven races. Verstappen and Alonso both got taken out at the first turn today at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Alonso had a good start up to tenth position at the start in his McLaren, taking advantage of other racers’ poor starts. But behind him, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat locked up his wheels and whacked into Alonso’s car in the braking zone, pushing Alonso’s car into the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Verstappen lost drive in his car after a clutch bearing broke on impact. Alonso also sustained enough damage that he had to retire.
Clearly, it’s not a good look for once-demoted-from-Red-Bull driver Kvyat to push what is essentially a Red Bull, Jr., car into another car that takes out a main-team Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring, no less. Kvyat was given a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.
But still: we’ve finally got a convincing race to the bottom. There have only been nine races so far this year. Alonso has not finished four of those with three DNFs and one DNS (did not start), plus he opted to skip Monaco to attempt the Indianapolis 500, which he also didn’t finish. Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne is the only one who’s tied him, also with three DNFs and one DNS.
Now it’s official, though: one of the Red Bulls has had more retirements than either McLaren. Now that Red Bull’s power unit isn’t the absolute worst butt of all F1 jokes, we’ve all but forgotten that their power unit was so bad, the team’s ensuing spat with Renault over engine performance forced them to rebrand them as “Tag Heuer” power units. Three of Verstappen’s other retirements have been from mechanical issues, and two from contact.
Verstappen has blasted the car as “completely crap” this year in Autoweek. We’ve all been so concentrated on the places Alonso would rather be that we’ve somehow ignored the low-key failson of F1 this year.
Why can’t the good drivers end up in working F1 cars?