Fernando Alonso and McLaren got off to the worst possible start in testing when Alonso’s car landed in the gravel only after 6 laps when the rear end tyre came off and the new MCL33 went off for a spin on the circuit.
McLaren fans were not amused as the new partnership with Renault was all about the increase in ‘reliability’ after the dismal season(s) with Honda.
However, the tyre issue was not a wheel structure defect as the McLaren team got Alonso back on track for the afternoon session. It probably was a loose nut then.
Alonso though allayed any fears of the new MCL33 suffering from the same reliability problems of the old. While the ‘crash’ did look emphatic and very visual it was a very small issue according to Alonso, with other teams having bigger problems in the garage.
“That it was a good day for you guys [the media]!” Alonso said.
“It was a very, very small problem but very graphic and very obvious because a car in the gravel is a big thing. There are six teams in the garage with the door closed with the car in pieces, but no one sees – there are no pictures of that. There are a lot of teams in trouble – and big trouble – and for us with a wheelnut it will make the big thing of the day.” he added.
Alonso was more than satisfied with the car, having completed 51 laps today and felt that the McLaren-Renault partnership had huge potential.
“I know a lot of people from Renault from my past. I know 80 per cent of people in the garage and how they work and how much attention they play to drivability and the performance of the engine.
“Every run was a nice chat with them, in Navarra at the filming day and also here. It was running very smoothly. There are a few things we are trying to change and adapt like every new car. But on the engine side extremely happy and there is huge potential in the McLaren-Renault team.” he said.