After Fernando Alonso left Renault with 2 world titles in his pocket, the Spaniard went to McLaren and subsequently Ferrari, in search of an elusive 3rd title. However, it was never meant to be for Alonso.
After several frustrating years, it became evident that Alonso was losing patience, especially during his last few years with McLaren.
These frustrations boiled over to a point where the Spaniard gave a scathing review of the Honda-powered McLaren F1 team at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix.
The 2-time World Champion was heard over the radio complaining and calling the power unit a ‘GP2 engine.’
During an episode of ‘Beyond the Grid‘ podcast, former McLaren Racing Director, Eric Boullier, looked back on that incident. He claimed that Alonso was well aware of what he said.
“Yeah, of course. I’m sure he knew what he was doing,” said Boullier.
Boullier defends Fernando Alonso and his GP2 engine rant
Barring his debut season, the 2015 campaign was Alonso’s worst in his career as he ended the year with barely 11 points to his name. His worst finishes came at the Spanish Grand Prix and the aforementioned Japanese GP.
Considering the incredibly frustrating campaign, Boullier, now the Managing Director of the French Grand Prix, went on to defend Alonso.
He said, “But those comments have been said in a race. If you remember, there was a lot of expectations from himself for this race.
“Even if he knew what he was doing, I think frustration sometimes is just pushing you to say something you don’t want to say. But it’s a part of the frustration and I think the ambition he had to really do well with McLaren Honda.”
Following that season, Alonso had a bit of a roller coaster ride over the next 3 years. A 54 point finish in 2016 was followed by only a 17 point campaign in 2017. However, he did end on a better note, scoring 50 in his last year with McLaren.
After a 2 year hiatus, the Spaniard will return next season with Alpine (Renault). Having recently completed a two-day test in Bahrain, it will be interesting to see if he can replicate the kind of success the departing Daniel Ricciardo has achieved with the team this year.