Alonso jets off to Indy for Monday practice

Solenn Plantier
Mai 19, 2017

Fernando Alonso's first practice session ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona ended in disaster as his auto suffered an engine problem on Thursday.

With his three-year McLaren-Honda contract expiring, Spaniard Alonso has revealed that he is on the market for 2018 unless the struggling Anglo-Japanese collaboration can promise him a winning vehicle.

"Obviously, it's not an ideal start to the weekend as we completely missed the first practice session because of an engine problem", said Alonso. "And not only to race, I want to win".

"I have 14 hours, more or less, to rest and nine of them will be in the plane as in 14 hours I'll be in the auto again".

This new damage - during the morning session - and poor performance during the afternoon, marked the continuation of McLaren-Honda's disastrous start to the season in terms of reliability and performance.

"It's coming. After the race the vehicle will be in the museum as well", the Spaniard told reporters at his home grand prix on Thursday.

By then, Alonso was being ferried back to the paddock on the back of a scooter, past numerous local fans who had come to give the Spaniard a much-needed boost.

But the fact that there has also even been speculation in the Italian media that world championship points leader Sebastian Vettel is going to decamp from Ferrari to Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton suggests that there isn't enough going on elsewhere within the sport to generate serious interest.

Alonso added: "It's tough but it's tougher for McLaren, who bring updates trying to find a millisecond here and there and we can not even run".

"I think it surprised everybody", said the Spaniard's former Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa, who qualified his Williams two places behind.

Alonso didn't finish any of the four races.

On the other side of the garage, Stoffel had a much more productive day.

Max Verstappen, the 2016 victor at a record age of 18, and fellow Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will start the race from fifth and sixth on the grid.

With the new engine in place, Vettel's vehicle gave him a scare when he slowed down just two laps into qualifying, and his team ordered him to return to the garage.

"But the race is tomorrow - they don't give points on Saturday, so we need to prepare a good strategy, a good start tomorrow and execute it well and take some points".

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