F1 McLaren driver and most lovable Spaniard Fernando Alonso has come out against claims that he will force McLaren’s hand should it choose to remain with Honda.
Man, whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that Fernando Alonso has had a difficult time with his teams in Formula One. Often branded as a professional s-it-stirrer, Alonso has been at the center of the unwinding McLaren-Honda trainwreck – partly due to his rank and renown, and partly due to his fiery quips toward the Japanese Manufacturer in moments of passion.
Now, however, those quips may be coming back to bite him, as a large percentage of the paddock apparently views Alonso as being the make-or-break factor in whether or not the McLaren-Honda will continue into the future. Undoubtedly stirred forth by media spin, Alonso is now finding himself in crosshairs that he doesn’t want to be in – particularly in the public-facing front.
Keen to fire back on all cylinders, Alonso has derided any speculation that he is at the center of negotiations between the Woking-based team and the Japanese engine manufacturer, claiming that:
“That is absolutely not true. I read that this weekend and I have absolutely not decided that. More than anything, I am not bigger than the team. We have 1,000 people at McLaren and Honda working for the championship. We know that things are not going in the right direction, we are not competitive enough after three years, but we all want to change that situation.
There are 1,000 people there and I am probably the least important one. For McLaren, it is crucial to improve the situation so they are the first who want to improve as the second best team in the history of the sport with numbers. The team that has won the second most times in Monza. We are McLaren and we all want the same thing: to be competitive.” – Fernando Alonso
Alonso went on to paint an optimistic future for the project, harkening back to the manner in which Ferrari improved their performance from 2014 onward, suggesting that once the fundamentals of the engine are nailed down, the progress comes apace:
“You never know. It is the same with Ferrari in 2014 and 2015, when they made a huge step with the engine. If you get the right direction with the engine, you make the combustion engine work, and then everything improves – the results can quickly improve.
It is something that I need to understand, to see what are the developments and the next steps for them. They have the time and the knowledge from the last three years, so it could be possible. Why not?” – Fernando Alonso
Despite the horrendous year – and consequently limp past three years – Alonso’s best decision in Formula One is likely to be sticking with McLaren. Unless he chooses to forgo racing in F1, there doesn’t seem to be a team capable of finishing up top that he could go to.
Yes, Alonso will ultimately have to sit down and decide whether or not it’s worth for him to stay at a team that still has a long way to go to be competitive – but he’s absolutely right about one thing: it’s not about him. Regardless of who is sitting in the driver seat, the power is either there or it isn’t. And McLaren needs it to be there.