E s was the second exit for Fernando Alonso in the new one McLaren-Renault MCL33. The official test kick-off in 2018 on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya followed a film day in Navarra. Alonso finished him in fifth place. One thought. The 36-year-old from Oviedo achieved a lap time of 1: 21.339 minutes on the super soft tire. This was later canceled because he shortened the chicane in the last section of the route. As a result, Alonso fell two positions back.
McLaren is already faster than 2017
So the test started with a lap time of 1.22.354 minutes. Alonso sled into the gravel bed in the finish curve after just 45 minutes. A defective wheel nut was to blame, which caused the right rear wheel to slip off the wheel carrier. McLaren redesigned the wheel nut for 2018. Hoping to make the average tire change quick.
Alonso took the accident calmly. 'I was happy for you,' said the 2005 and 2006 world champion to the journalists. “This is a good story for you guys. It was a minor problem, but it was clearly visible from the outside. Many others probably had greater difficulties today. But their cars were dismantled in the garages behind locked gates. ”Has the problem been solved yet? “I don't know the details. But if there were any worries, the team wouldn't have sent me out again. ”
After the incident, Alonso only reappeared on the track five minutes before lunch. “We didn't want to drive a lot in the morning anyway. We then rebuilt and changed our program for the afternoon. ”The second four hours of practice were largely influenced by the bad weather. First it trickled. About two hours before the end it started to rain heavier. Alonso nevertheless highlights the positives. “We did most of the laps in the afternoon.” To be precise, it was 41 after only ten laps in the first part of the day.
Alonso happy with Renault
The move from Honda on Renault engines has brought optimism back to the second most successful team in Formula 1 history. “The car feels good. Everything seems to be in line with the data we obtained in the wind tunnel. The engine fits too. I know 80 percent of the Renault engineers who work in our garage from before. Thefacilitates collaboration. I know how they work and how much they value drivability. Any conversation is good and helps us. The engine makes me happy. We have a lot of potential with it. ”
McLaren has to be measured against Red Bull and the Renault works team this season. “Of course we will look at them and will compare. What is their speed. How constant they drive. And how many laps they manage every day. You are our benchmark. That they drive the same engine can only help. If they find something that improves the engine, it automatically gets through to us. ”
Alonso also praised the new asphalt in Barcelona. “You can feel a big improvement from the first few meters out of the pit lane. There are no more bumps. The asphalt has a lot of grip in the dry. It's more difficult in the wet. Because it is not so easy to generate temperature in the tires. But this is generally a problem with these outside temperatures. If it stays that way, none of us will drive much. That is especially a shame for the fans. ”
No vision problems through the Halo
Alonso is an advocate of the Halo cockpit protection. After 51 laps in the cockpit, he sees no problems. “In photos it looks like the central walkway is in the way. But we don't look at the front of the chassis, we drive with foresight. It doesn't matter. Not in the corners either. There you look left and right. The biggest thing is getting in and out. There is not enough space. ”
His racing calendar is jam-packed with the sports car world championship and Formula 1. Alonso hopes to become an even more complete rider through the many trips to the sports prototypes. And of course he's hoping for a Le Mans win. “I have the experience to do it. I will prepare 100 percent for every race. With my race in Daytona, I've already done over 1,000 laps this year. This is training that the other drivers didn't have. I'm already driving like I've competed in eight or nine Grand Prixhave. Although we are only at the beginning. The only thing I have to take care of is the travel management. I have to be as effective as possible here. Any delay or flight cancellation could hurt. “