Alonso will not quit, has a one-track mind to win

BARCELONA • Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso ruled out retiring until he is handed a competitive car as his beleaguered McLaren-Honda suffered more reliability problems to end pre-season testing on Friday.

The Spaniard's car broke down twice as electrical faults again restricted his running to just 43 laps and the 11th-fastest time of 13 drivers. His contract with McLaren expires at the end of the season.

"I want victories and podiums and if it all goes wrong, I will attack next year," the 35-year-old said. "It will give me more motivation to continue. I will not stop driving without a good result, which I think is what I deserve."

McLaren finished bottom of the paddock in terms of laps completed from the eight days of testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"We have only one problem which is the power unit," added Alonso. "There is no reliability and there is no power. We are 30 kilometres (per hour) down on the straight."

Alonso's criticism backed up McLaren racing director Eric Boullier's claim on Wednesday that Honda are "under maximum pressure" to come up with solutions to their continued reliability problems.

At the other end of the field, the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were blitzing the times set in recent years for Ferrari and Mercedes.

A series of fresh regulations for the new season, which starts in Melbourne on March 26, was expected to see McLaren reassert themselves as contenders.

"This year is more frustrating because you have high hopes due to the change of rules and you think you can cut the gap," said Alonso.

But the 2005 and 2006 world champion claimed he is still a better driver than Hamilton or Vettel.

"I feel (like) the fastest driver out there, so I just need an engine that can run as fast as the others on the straight," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 12, 2017, with the headline 'Alonso will not quit, has a one-track mind to win'. Print Edition | Subscribe