Ex-F1 driver Mark Webber believes that Fernando Alonso is the best driver on the current grid, and empathises with the Spaniard, who has been biting his tongue for 24 months due to the lack of competitiveness at McLaren Honda.
In a recent interview, Webber said:
“It’s been a big shame for Formula 1, a big shame for Honda, a big shame for McLaren. They loaded their guns up and got Fernando back there waiting for the engine to fire, but it hasn’t happened.
He’s been biting his tongue for the last 24 months, and he can’t drive the thing any harder. His stock is still incredible, and on Sundays he’s probably the best in the world. That’s the frustrating bit.”
– Mark Webber
Alonso has put in a few stunning performances this season both in qualifying and on race day. The double world champion has reached Q3 on two occasions this year, well beyond the capabilities of the car. He’s had two points finishes so far, with 9th in Baku and 6th in Hungary.
These weren’t the 2017 highlights that Alonso would have been expecting at this point in his second stint with McLaren, and at Spa and Monza, the car is really going to struggle. Honda brings an update to Belgium, but any improvements will be negated by the nature of the track. The team are in for a difficult weekend where attrition elsewhere could be their only chance for points.
— Zdravko (@zdravkost) August 22, 2017
Ahead of the weekend, Alonso said,
“As the season goes on we’re getting stronger and stronger, and I hope the second half of the year will bring us some more points-earning finishes. This race is a difficult challenge for the whole team – the engineers and the mechanics – as you’re on the throttle for almost three-quarters of the lap, which makes it’s a tough circuit for both the car and the driver. We know we’ll have to work hard to get any kind of result there, but it’s a long lap and there are plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we’ll keep pushing to get everything we can from the weekend.”
– Fernando Alonso
— Zdravko (@zdravkost) August 23, 2017
Alonso is yet to put pen to paper on a contract renewal, and will likely wait a bit longer to see if the power unit improves, or other opportunities arise in more competitive teams. Stoffel Vandoorne has confirmed that he will be with McLaren for 2018, but the team will really be waiting with bated breath to see what Alonso’s decision is.