Date published: October 8 2018
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne have both revealed just how much progress has been halted at McLaren during the 2018 season.
McLaren’s new partnership with Renault was supposed to represent a fresh, new start for the Woking team who endured three miserable years with Honda.
They started the season well with Alonso finishing fifth at the Australian Grand Prix, but that has comfortably remained McLaren’s best result of the 2018 campaign.
It has become increasingly clear after every passing race weekend that McLaren’s chassis is way, way below the standard and Alonso has said that the Spanish Grand Prix in May was the last time we saw any notable additions to the MCL33.
“We have not had improvements since Spain,” Alonso said in Japan after finishing P14 for the second consecutive race.
“We can see in photos and on the track that the rest of the teams in the middle zone bring things race to race and we do not. So the problem is not whether it’s the same car from Sochi or not. Actually, we have the same car from last year – from 12 months ago.
That grim fact about McLaren’s development has only acted as further evidence that Alonso is doing the right thing leaving Formula 1.
He added: “In one world championship I’m trying to help the team to be sixth, in the other I am fighting to be world champion. There’s no doubt where my goal is.”
Alonso’s team-mate, Vandoorne, who has not scored a single point since round four in Baku, also backed up the development issue.
He said: “We did not really develop the car from Barcelona. Until then, we were still a little competitive. It’s no surprise that we have not made progress.”
McLaren’s sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship is under threat from Force India, who have secured four double-points finishes in the last five races.