As Mick Jagger famously quoted in the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want.” The same must also be said for the never say die attitude of Fernando Alonso. The matador of Spanish pride returned to McLaren from a self declared non-successful few years pedalling Ferraris around the F1 circuits for a number of years. There was an offer of reprieve which coincided with the return of Honda power and much hype and speculation that the winning duo were back to take out the front of the field.
Nothing could have been more false as it turned out. ‘Nando’ returned to the squad as the reportedly most physically and mentally fittest driver as well as being the highest paid in the current line up with an average salary of $1M per week being paid for by Honda themselves.
Of course Honda as an engine supplier returned to F1 after a long break to find that both the technology and engine requirements had changed. The new V6 turbo hybrid for some reason did not suit the power and reliability charter that Honda had planned for with their return. This was confirmed throughout winter testing at Catalunya. What we witnessed was Honda failing dismally over the past two seasons with only a handful of points to show for their investment.
As ‘Nando’ showed during his time at Ferrari he’s not a quitter. He’s been quoted as saying that he feels like he’s going backwards with the current arrangement at McLaren. The clock is turning in an anti-clockwise direction for ‘Nando’ as all belief and results seem to be opposed between that of Alonso as the driver and the team as a collective when something happens, either good or bad.
So where to from here? With less than two weeks on offer for Honda to fix any issue, namely reliability, they’ve got their work cut out. The other question that needs to be answered is why are McLaren not taking the blame for this failure during winter testing? Well the answer is obvious. McLaren have never really made a bad tub, just chosen bad engine partnerships from time to time like they did before with Ford and Peugeot.
Fernando will take his seat in Melbourne and assume his role as a driver. He won’t walk away, but he will take the bull be the horns and ring its neck for everything that it is worth. The crowd are about to see a fight, Olé!