Fernando Alonso hit back at his and his McLaren team’s critics on Sunday after he had described the struggling Honda-powered outfit as “looking like amateurs” in an outburst on team radio.
Speaking with emotion during the Canadian Grand Prix, the two-time champion disobeyed team orders to save fuel and said he wanted to race against other drivers first and economise later.
“When you are in the middle of a battle, fuel is a low priority and you will find time later on,” he explained after being forced to retire from the race.
“After three or four reminders of fuel, I just said let me race and let me have some fun.
“We are like a different category. When everyone passes you so easy (sic) like that, you look like an amateur driver and that is not good. We are not super competitive now.
“We have many things to do in our case, but hopefully this weekend has given us some lessons.”
Asked to save fuel, during the race, Alonso retorted on team radio: “I don’t want, I don’t want. I have really big problems now, driving with these and looking like amateurs. So I race and then I concentrate on the fuel.”
McLaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, left, walks in the pit lane during the Formula One Grand Prix, at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, last month. Alonso had retired for the second straight race after his McLaren let him down again — just like it did in Spain two weeks earlier. This weekend he also had to retire from the Canadian Grand Prix. Picture/AP
Told later that the outburst had been widely interpreted as a demonstration of frustration against the team, Alonso said: “You need to understand I believe in this project - all the programme of developing the car is quite positive.
“I know it is difficult for the fans, but they need to be patient and they need to believe because something good is coming.
“We had to save a lot of fuel at this track and right from the first lap I was told to save fuel, but I was in the middle of a few battles.
“We are 35 kph behind Ferrari on the straights, we had to save fuel, we had to save tyres because we were stopping once, and I was fighting with them.
“After two or three message I told them to let me fight now and have some fun and then I’ll save fuel at the end of the race when we are alone.”
Alonso had to retire for the third race in succession and fourth in six races. On a bad day for McLaren his teammate Jenson button also failed to finish.
“It is what it is,” Alonso said. “I know from the outside, they all want to crush us. We are going through a bad streak and we can’t do anything else, but continue working.”