“Though expected, a very difficult weekend”
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Sunday September 6
As expected, that was a tough afternoon for McLaren-Honda.
Both drivers made strong starts – Jenson Button jumped five cars on the first lap, and ran as high as ninth in the opening laps. However, he was soon passed by a number of faster cars, eventually settling into 15th position. A late retirement from another car elevated him to 14th at the end.
Fernando Alonso ran the opposite strategy to Jenson, starting on the Prime [tyre] before switching to the Option. He too made a strong start, scrabbling through into 12th, but again was thereafter powerless to avoid slipping down the order. Just as he was about to begin dicing with Jenson, he suffered an electrical control board issue, which prompted him to box. However, a quick switch-change brought the car back to life, and Fernando drove through without stopping. However, he was forced to stop at the end of the lap.
The whole team is now looking towards the next race in Singapore, which should give our technical package a slightly better opportunity of being more competitive.
#14 Fernando Alonso
Finished DNF – electrical control board
Fastest Lap 1m29.285s on lap 42 (+2.613s, 15th)
Pit-stops Two: laps 28 (2.80s) and 46 (through pit-lane due to technical issue) [Pri-Opt]
“I got a good start today, then a couple of cars made contact at the first corner, which slowed me down. Then, at the second chicane, I came close to Jenson and eventually lost all the advantage I’d gained.
“Jenson and I were on two different tyre strategies, to try to cover all possible opportunities. I was on the Prime, which was one second slower than the Option, so I had a slower first stint, but then I was a bit quicker in the second.
“In the final laps, I felt a loss of power and was told to retire the car, so as not to cause further damage. We were outside the points anyway, so it was a wise decision.”
#22 Jenson Button
Fastest Lap 1m29.766s on lap 33 (+3.094s, 16th)
Pit-stops One: laps 25 (2.60s) [Opt-Pri]
“I had a good start, and took some cars into Turn One. The whole first lap was good – there were a lot of incidents, and I think I got up into ninth.
“Then, unfortunately, I just waited for the other cars to come by. It was a bit difficult out there, because the other drivers were overtaking me in places that I didn’t previously think were possible, so I had to look in my mirrors on the entry to every corner.
“At the end, I missed out on a good race with my team-mate. We’d already had a good little fight for three laps, and there were six to go when he retired. I think it would’ve been a good fight between us – it’s easy for other cars to overtake us, but it’s not easy for us to overtake each other, so it would’ve been quite fun.”
Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“We always knew that Monza and Spa-Francorchamps would be among the least well-suited circuits for our car, and so it proved at both venues.
“Here in Italy, we’ve come away with nothing to show for our efforts, and obviously that’s hard to take for all concerned.
“It’s been a stressful few days for us – that’s probably been as obvious from the outside as it’s been painful on the inside – but we’ll now return to Woking and Sakura and continue the hard work in an effort to claw our way back to the front.
“We aren’t predicting great things for the next race, Singapore, but we’re hoping that that street circuit’s characteristics will be slightly kinder to our car than Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have been.”
Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport
“Though expected, it was a very difficult weekend. From free practice to the race, the team worked together to get the cars’ set-up fit for the race, but the assist time from the MGU-K affected the lap times, and could not be improved during the race.
“Fernando's car unfortunately had an electrical control board issue, and therefore had to retire. We will need to investigate the reason for this further, but we do not believe there has been any effect on the ERS itself.
“The next race in Singapore is a street circuit, so the load on the chassis and power unit will be very different from Monza.”