White smoke enveloped the two-time former champion when his McLaren spun out of a turn and into the gravel at the start of the morning session at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya.
While speaking ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, Formula One driver Fernando Alonso said McLaren has until October to convince him that the team can put forth a competitive auto for the 2018 season.or else he'll start talking with other teams.
No sooner had those words been digested than the team hit an embarrassing new low in Friday practice for the Spanish GP, Alonso's home race, when his vehicle broke down on its installation lap.
McLaren's team radio told him to "stop the auto, stop the auto, engine problem" as liquid dripped from the underside of the vehicle. The drip turned into a gushing pour when a crane lifted the McLaren away from the track.
"If it is not the case then I will be more than happy to talk to anyone".
Alonso apologized to his supporters for the no-go, and put the blame on Honda, the maker of the McLaren's troubled motor.
"What can you do?"
"Yes, that is what is going to happen", said Alonso. "It was a pity for the fans that had come today to see me break down on the first lap".
Fernando Alonso left instead to go play some paddle, a racquet sport similar to tennis. "But not only to race but also to win". It's the first time that I've had a Friday this season without any big problems - we ran through our programme without any big issues, so that was good. But that is what Fridays are for.
"(It was) really, really bad for us as a team not to start the race.
Champion in 2005 and 2006, the 35-year-old Alonso hasn't added to his 32 victories since winning the Spanish GP in 2013. When we complete my full last lap in a Formula 1 vehicle which was on the Saturday in Russian Federation because on Sunday we didn't manage to complete the formation lap and here we could not manage to complete the out lap.
And despite two weeks to work on the auto, McLaren has made no progress. Hamilton lowered his own mark after lunch to clock a day's best time of 1 minute, 20.802 seconds, with Bottas only 0.090 seconds slower. Rumor has it that he could return to Renault, with which he won his two world championships over a decade ago, or that he could take Kimi Raikkonen's place alongside Sebastian Vettel back at Ferrari again. We ve given him a great environment, he really enjoys it here - we ve got to give him a winning auto. "If from here to October I see the opportunity to win in 2018, I will be more than happy to stay with the team. I don't know the reason why the oil leaked, but that is the reason why it blew". "It looks like it will be between them and us", Vettel said.