Alonso gives McLaren 6 months to fix failing F1 car

Mechanics were called to roll the McLaren back to the pits after Alonso was sent into a spin by a huge engine failure on his first practice lap. "But not only to race but also to win".

The Honda motor on the Spaniard's McLaren game him a problem nearly as soon as he left the pit area, bringing his circuit of the Montmelo to an end in a plume of white smoke. But that is what Fridays are for.

Champion in 2005 and 2006, the 35-year-old Alonso hasn't added to his 32 victories since winning the Spanish GP in 2013. He endured the embarrassment of having to abandon the Russian GP last round when his vehicle broke down on the formation lap. At the moment, I don't have aby obligations towards McLaren, I'm happy with the team, but we're not winning.

Alonso's focus over the last month has been split with his preparations for the Indy 500, which he will contest on May 28 instead of the Monaco Grand Prix. The vehicle went out in a huge cloud of smoke, and it just kept dumping fluids as recovery workers tried to lift the dead McLaren out of the way.

"The poor show in the afternoon session was due to the fact that first of all, you need to calibrate the engine when you put in a new power unit, so in the first couple of runs the power was a little bit inconsistent". Lewis Hamilton clocked a fastest lap of 1 minute, 21.521 seconds, with Vatteri Bottas only 0.029 seconds slower.

Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who in reverse order took one and two at qualifying last round in Russian Federation, clocked the third and fourth fastest times less than half a second off Hamilton's pace.

Vettel wasn't pleased coming in behind the Mercedes, and put the burden on himself to get more out of his vehicle that has given Mercedes its first real challenge in years.

"Around September I will consider what I will do next year; if it's time to find challenges outside Formula One or if Formula One will give an opportunity to win the championship, which is my main goal".

"In general, you should be ready to race whoever comes along", Vettel said. "It is a question of getting it right".

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who won the race a year ago to make history as the youngest GP victor at age 18, and Daniel Ricciardo were next.

Alonso's MCL32 vehicle broke down at just the second corner. "It's like juggling balls in the wind".

"Despite having a disappointing day today, we still think we have chance to recover the situation in the coming qualifying and race".

  • Rosalie Stanley