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Featured Should Alonso have criticised Honda on team radio?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Jordan Adcock, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda.jpg
    The whole debate regarding Fernando Alonso's comments on McLaren team radio during the Japanese Grand Prix has kind of moved on, but it’s worth revisiting for the criticism the Spaniard received for speaking out.

    In a race where both McLarens had no response to the speed of other teams, Alonso labelled the car's performance as "embarrassing" and slated the Honda power unit as a "GP2 engine", as unacceptably underpowered.

    The Sky Sports F1 team in particular rounded on him after the race. Johnny Herbert called his comments "stupid" and said: "That mentality will destroy everything, Why not just get on with the driving?"

    When they interviewed McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis, he said: "I think he vented his frustration. I don't think he needed to make the comments, it wasn't particularly constructive. We are here in Japan, Suzuka, Honda's home track, we had the president of the Honda motor company, we had the head of R&D, chief executive of Honda motors - the three most senior people who are totally committed to winning a world championship and their curve is much steeper than they anticipated, but their aspirations and commitment has not diminished."

    And Alonso tried to make peace later on Twitter [1][2][3], affirming that despite his remarks he would stay at McLaren for the rest of his contracted three years. But "GP2 engine" is out in public now, the damage is done, and in my opinion it's wrong to slam a driver for making an observation which has been completely obvious all season.

    At virtually every race we've cringed at the McLaren's visible lack of power compared to their Mercedes and Ferrari-powered rivals. We've watched two world champion drivers in a world champion team struggle to score even minor points. After 14 races, they've scored all of 17 points, with a best result of fifth place coming in Hungary courtesy of Alonso.

    No, the Honda power unit isn't quite GP2-standard (as Lawrence Edmondson states here, GP2’s Mecachrome V8 engines are down roughly 250bhp from F1’s best). But Honda’s Energy Recovery System has continually failed to harvest and deploy enough power, especially on the straights where it’s most needed to fend off chasing cars, estimates have been made that Honda are facing as much as a 160bhp deficit.

    Alonso was exaggerating a little, but then the man has always been wily in a car and in public. He was undoubtedly aware that senior Honda staff were at their home race, at the circuit they own, and so in a season where improvements have not been forthcoming, he would deliver the damning verdict, hoping the dishonor would galvanise the carmaker into more drastic efforts to turn things around.

    Such an approach is not unfounded given how McLaren and Honda have tried doubling down on the relationship in public, refusing to answer questions about replacing Honda’s F1 head Yasuhisa Arai, after rumours emerged that they had asked for him to go.

    In my opinion, it's pretty ironic for a broadcaster which has constantly talked about how much they want the drivers to be “box office”, outspoken personalities rather than robots tied to PR commitments, and frequently enjoy Kimi Raikkonen's brief spats on team radio, to suddenly slam a driver for being just that, no matter how blunt.

    Was Alonso being unhelpful? Maybe, but then it’s probably just as helpful as anything Honda have done to improve the engine so far this season. Again, the team’s troubles have very much been an open secret, and Arai himself has opened them to mockery after claiming planned upgrades would give Honda 25% more power than the Renault power units run by Red Bull and Toro Rosso, while the actuality was anything but. Renault-powered Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen both went cleanly past him on the pit straight at Suzuka.

    I do hope McLaren and Honda continue and get better, sooner rather than later. The two of course have a great history of partnership from the late 80s and early 90s which doesn’t deserve this lowly footnote (for now), and the same is true for the drivers in the cars.

    But the only thing you need to know from this whole talking point is this: if Alonso hadn’t pointed out how embarrassingly underpowered Honda’s engines were on their own circuit, in front of the company’s top people, be assured that everyone else in the press would have done it for him. The story is unavoidable.

    What do you think of this whole spat? Was Alonso right to speak out or not?
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  2. I think it might have an accelarating effect. With all Honda-hot shots and top dogs present, saying a few confronting words, might mean more time, money and effort will be invested in order to prevent another humiliating year in a sport that draws a lot of crowds, viewers and attention. All eyes are on you, maybe even more so when things go wrong. So the ideal place for a wake-up call, in my opinion.
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  3. Cristian Haba

    Cristian Haba
    #555 | Roaring Pipes Maniacs Premium

    IMO yes, he was right to criticize Honda. There are many reasons why.

    He's a double world champion, he's not a nobody in the sport and he knows what cars are like all the way from a Minardi to champion level Renault-Benetton. So if he says it's a GP2 level engine than that **** must be quite frustrating. Also Alonso is probably the best racer out of all of them in the grid today, his racing IQ while on track shows time and again. He had to do it against the best to beat him and he did, TWICE. And also being a fan of der Kaiser, imo his two championships when he was on track mean quite a lot more because of the fierce competition and level of the cars.

    The other thing is McLaren/Honda and the media are messing this up. Why not take the comments he made, in frustration no less, and make them add fuel to the fire of competition and to get improvements out the door. You have world champions in BOTH your cars, proven racers and race winners, where is the VTEC I ask you, WHERE?

    IMO it's mind boggling he didn't lay them to the sword the first race, because for guys like Button and Alonso and McLaren as well, it's simply unacceptable the level of performance the power unit is putting out. It makes a mockery of the once formidable history this partnership has, it's part of F1 folklore ffs and this is not doing it justice.
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  4. Dux


    Yes, why not?
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  5. he's a former world champion, damn yes he should do it
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  6. Nox

    Staff Premium

    So he said what everyone was thinking. Big deal.
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  7. There's too much PR speak already, anyone who watched a single race of the F1 2015 season knows that the Honda engine absolutely sucks, Alonso's words are absolutely true and not any more disparaging for Honda than the product they made.

    If you don't want to hear negative things then you should deliver.
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  8. Benutzername

    The Will to Death is what keeps me alive Premium

    I like people who are honest. Honda and McLaren never seemed to admit that they've given their top-notch drivers as bad materials as they have given them.

    I don't like all the PR stuff to just don't hurt the company or anything. To say the truth is in the end better for the reputation as just saying things that are just incorrect or not as good as they say.
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  9. Not to stir the pot, but it being Alonso making the comment with the overreaction to it being from British commentary couldn't have anything to do with possible bias against Alonso? I feel Hamilton making the same comment would have gotten the opposite reaction.
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  10. Sharjeel

    Being 2nd is to be the 1st of the ones who lose.

    If Kimi had said it, we would already have T-shirts and other merchandise with words like "GP2 Engine" and "Embarassing" painted on them. Before it get's vitroilic, I am as much a Kimi fan as I am an Alo fan.
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  11. plus, he has the "money" behind, Santander is there because of him (i believe)
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  12. I'd say it is wrong, and that's what makes it so remarkable. It's generally not good practice to publicly insult the people you work with in any industry, and racing's no different. The fact that he has makes me think things have gotten desperate in McLaren, and we just saw that boil over.

    At this point, I wonder if we're ever going to see this McLaren-Honda combo work. They haven't made the progress they wanted over the season, and the issues presented by this "size zero" philosophy they've taken don't seem to be fixable.

    I think Ferrari were in a similar position in 2014. They compressed their engine a bit for aerodynamic reasons, and compromised the engine to do it. For 2015, they let the engine grow a bit more where convenient for it, and just take the aerodynamic hit that brings. I think we all know how that worked out. :p
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  13. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    Perhaps it might be Alonso who is the problem. (Slap). Oh wait, never-mind...he's perfect. :) As usual, I'm on the other end here, but it's not the first time.

    This highlights why Alonso is, and never will be a "team player" in any form. He's out for himself, which is not bad, IMO, but his silky smooth off mic persona is not who you get in person at home. Sort of the opposite of Raikkkonen. No thanks Mr. Alonso...if I'm a team owner. If an F1 driver can't understand 1.) The Japanese culture, particularly the part that anyone remotely familiar with with Asian societies knows re: public shaming being worse than being beaten; and 2.) that critisizm of the people who pay you millions has a place and time that does not include the public airways, then he's not as smart as people think. But is he as fast as even his teammate?

    Malaysian GP - out-qualified and out-raced
    Chinese GP - out-qualified
    Bahrain GP - no teammate to beat
    Spanish GP - out-raced
    Monaco GP - out-qualified and out-raced
    Canadian GP - out-raced, despite Jenson starting at the back due to engine penalties
    Austrian GP - out-raced (you can blame Kimi for this one)
    British GP - scored his first point
    Hungarian GP - great race, scoring 10 points
    Belgian GP - out-qualified
    Italian GP - out-qualified and out-raced
    Singapore GP - out-raced

    In fact, Japan is the only race where he out-qualified and out-raced his teammate, who understands how to act in public (yea, I know he let something slip too, but he was being critical of himself).

    So, maybe instead of humiliating Honda and McLaren in public, he should concentrate on stepping up his own game. He's a little old for F1 anyway, eh?
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  14. ThatRacingGuy

    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened Premium

    Since His GP2 Quote Alonso reminds me of Jacques Villeneuve lol
  15. Nox

    Staff Premium

    I don't understand why everyone thought the McLaren Honda deal would have instant results. Back in the 80s McLaren were already being successful with TAG Porsche engines, and Honda had been successful with Williams before switching to supply McLaren. This time around, Honda are coming from out of the blue and have a lot more work to do first, and it's not like the McLaren chassis is great either. It needs more time.
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  16. Stupid article trying to make something out of nothing. A racecar driver said a few words about his crappy engine. Big whoop. Move on.
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  17. But Honda is being too proud and denying additional help from McLaren itself.
  18. In the few seemingly fair races between them (or races that had both drivers at-least lasting a good "chunk" of the race without seemingly having any problems) Alonso has beaten Button on almost every occasion. I'd also like to add that there were times when Alonso was behind Button after the turn 1 chaos of a race, but Alonso would usually be closing in on Button if you payed attention to their laptimes throughout the race. In-fact, if I recall correctly, I think that most recently happened at Monza (before Alonso retired).

    Button was superior in Singapore?? LOL!

    Button "winning" in Austria even though Alonso was out by lap 1 corner 2? Lol but for Bahrain you write "no teammate to beat". LOL

    I'm not sure which F1 season you're watching but it's not 2015.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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  19. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    Ferrari is so much worse off since Fernando left.

    I wrote "no teammate" because Button didn't start the race. That didn't happen to Fernando, who the team apparently thinks needs to be looked after because he will drive them to victory.

    Fernando says some good things on occasion and is a good driver, but I'm under no illusion that he's a team player, or even a better driver than 50% of the grid. So I thought I'd find some facts instead of raw emotion. No question he should not have said it. Even he admits that he should not have said it, and that it should have been done in private, so there really is no issue. I respect him for admitting his mistake. He does not do that very often. Get back to me if he says it again...;)
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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  20. LOLOL!