Although McLaren-Honda indicated changes to their car prior to Montreal, these appear not to have improved the team’s performance in the slightest, and this is something both team and drivers seem to be all too aware of.
Fernando Alonso was audibly agitated following first qualifying, which neither Alonso nor his teammate Jenson Button made it out of. Both were eliminated at that session, and will begin today’s race in 17th and 18th respectively.
To add insult to injury, stewards made a glaring error, putting one of Button’s tyres on Alonso’s car. Although this would normally have been liable for a penalty, team stewards took on the error instead, attributing it to what they described as an “error in communication”. The team received a reprimand instead.
Two-time World Champion Alonso’s track record has suffered significantly since he moved this year from Scuderia Ferrrari to McLaren. The Spaniard, who finished in the top 10 every race he completed last year, has only finished two races this season, neither of which brought any points. He retired from every other race, quite literally crashing out of the recently concluded Austrian Grand Prix following a collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Teammate Button, who also had a decent previous year with McLaren, when the UK-based team were still on Mercedes power units and known as McLaren-Mercedes. His showing this year has been abysmal, however, much like his teammate. 2009 World Champion Button, for whom this is a home race, has finished two more races than his teammate, only one of them with points. Both have had significant motor issues.
Button was heard on McLaren team radio during the first qualifying complaining of ‘serious vibration’ in his vehicle. Alonso, for his part, has been extremely vocal about his disappointment, and on several occasions has made this starkly felt. Following McLaren’s dismal showing at Qualifying yesterday, the Spaniard said McLaren would falter at all the high=speed races = this included the next two races- at the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary and at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. All three, Silverstone included, are known for their pace, and it is this Alonso referred to when he asked “bored” fans to wait for either the Japanese Grand Prix or Mexico because he was sure there would be “worse races” than Silverstone.
At the Canadian Grand Prix this year, where neither McLaren completed the race, Alonso was at loggerheads with McLaren crew, to whom he was heard complaining over team radio as “making us look like amateurs.” He has complained through the year of having “too much to concentrate on”, and having to focus on fuel conservation whilst trying to fulfil the purpose of his race and overtake other drivers on the circuit.
Team McLaren are near the bottom among the constructors, in 9th of 10 places, with 4 points. These were scored by Button following his 8th place finish at Monaco, while Alonso is yet to open his account.
This will be the home race for the Surrey-based team and for their driver, Button, which makes their performance even more disappointing.
The race begins at 5:30 p.m. IST this evening with Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on pole, his teammate Nico Rosberg in second and Brazilian driver Felipe Massa of Williams in third.