The fallout at McLaren-Honda from last week’s Formula One testing woes continues to be ugly. Honda’s already parting ways with one of its engine consultants, and McLaren team manager Eric Boullier confirmed that star driver Fernando Alonso isn’t happy yet again.
2017 was supposed to be the year McLaren rose back to the top, but engine woes have prevented that so far. Eric Boullier confirmed to La Gazzetto della Sport (as translated on Autoweek) that everybody at the team is doubting Honda’s ability to deliver:
We are all disappointed by these first tests, because we could not do what we wanted. I do not know if Honda can give us the guarantees we ask for. But we absolutely need to see significant progress.
Guess who would probably rather be somewhere else during these tests? That’s right: Fernando Alonso. Boullier continued:
After six months everybody said it would be a tragedy with [Alonso], a mess, but in the third year he is still here. Of course he is not happy, because he wants to fight to win. It is up to us to bring McLaren to the level it deserves.
Boullier also says he’s been keeping Alonso calm and engaged with the team by being honest about their situation—after all, no one at the team is happy about it. Not getting Alonso’s hopes up is all the team can do.
Of course, Alonso being unhappy was such a theme that it became its own meme over the past few years. We just want him to be happy. Why can’t he be happy?
So, is Honda doing anything about this? Well, they just let engine consultant Gilles Simon go, reports Motorsport.com—a news item that seems mundane until you read that McLaren had hoped for more outside consultants with experience on other teams to be involved with Honda’s power unit, and Honda had always pushed back against the idea. I’m sure this is just one more point of contention between the two entities.
Simon had previously worked on Michael Schumacher’s ultra-dominant engines at Ferrari, and is now on a six-month gardening leave before he’s expected to land at another team. He started working with Honda in 2013.
Even more damning is the fact that Honda still hasn’t released a reason why their engine failed on the second day of testing. A Honda spokesman told Motorsport.com:
It is still under investigation but it [work] is also proceeding day by day. We need some more runs in the test, with some changes in the power unit, to clarify the root cause.
Uh, guys? It will have been a week after that engine failed tomorrow. Y’all are going to need to work faster on stuff like this if you expect not to suck by the time the season starts.
Brace yourselves, everyone. The #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe memes are going to come back in full force.