Fernando Alonso refuses to commit to Formula One beyond this season

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Fernando Alonso speaks to the media ahead of the F1 Grand Prix.

Alonso is preparing for his home race here at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya off the back of his debut victory at last week’s World Endurance Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

But the 36-year-old Spaniard’s days of winning in F1 appear further away than ever before as McLaren’s troubles extend into another season.

Alonso, who last took to the top step of a Formula One podium at this race back in 2013, may be sixth in the standings after accumulating 28 points from the opening four rounds, but that tally says more about his racecraft rather than the speed of his McLaren.

The British team, having terminated their engine relationship with Honda at the end of last season, had expected to challenge at the sharp end of the grid this year.

But the move to Renault power has provided little joy with Alonso failing to qualify inside the top 10 at any of the four rounds so far.

It has been more than four years since a McLaren car last occupied the top three places, and Alonso, on the eve of what could be his final home race, hinted his future could lie away from F1.

“The biggest thing here is how predictable everything is,” said Alonso, who is dovetailing his F1 commitments with six World Endurance Championship events, including next month’s prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours race.

“We can put on paper now what would be the qualifying result here on Saturday, what it would be in Monaco, and what it would be in Silverstone. This is sad for Formula One. So that’s something you need to take into account for future decisions.

“I’m attempting two world championships at the same time. The F1 calendar is quite demanding.”

Alonso could leave McLaren at the end of the year but would give up his pay packet, estimated to be upwards of £20million.

McLaren have brought a series of updates with them to Barcelona in the hope of improved performance, but they will not be alone with the opening leg of the European season kickstarting the development race.

“Normally Spain brings a lot of updates for all the teams so hopefully we can benefit a little bit from that,” Alonso added.

“There’s still a long way to go for us but at the same time we were here last year with zero points and now we are sixth and fourth in the world championship so in a way it’s been a very good start. Let’s keep that momentum.”

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Fernando Alonso pours cold water on Honda's success in pre-season testing

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Fernando Alonso has doubts over Honda's successful testing.

Fernando Alonso has questioned the apparent success of the Honda engine during Formula One‘s pre-season testing even as the Japanese supplier expressed their pleasure at their budding partnership with Toro Rosso.

Honda infamously failed to provide Alonso’s McLaren with a reliable engine during their three-year partnership from 2015 to 2017, causing the British manufacturer to terminate their deal with Honda early and switch to Renault.

Ironically, the final week of testing ahead of the 2018 season saw McLaren-Renault struggle with engine issues, and they had to change their engine twice, while Toro Rosso-Honda got through the week using just the one engine.

But Alonso questioned the supposed success of Honda’s test.

“I have no problem with Honda,” he told Spanish radio Onda Cero. “They showed a good winter test, and if they finish in the top five, I’ll be glad.

“But I don’t think so. One test is not the same as 21 races with three engines.”

Meanwhile, despite McLaren’s struggles, Alonso said he has no complaints with the Renault engine.

“We are very happy with our work with Renault. Compared to last year, we are up to four seconds faster per lap,” he said, getting in another dig at Honda.

For their part, Honda seem to be happy having switched from supplying McLaren to Toro Rosso – whose senior team, Red Bull, remains a Renault customer along with McLaren.

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Fernando Alonso finishes 38th on Daytona 24 Hours debut

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Alonso finished 38th in the Daytona endurance race.

Fernando Alonso believes he has gained vital experience for a future crack at the Le Mans 24 Hours after finishing 38th in the Daytona endurance race on Sunday.

The Spanish former Formula One world champion’s campaign in Florida was derailed by mechanical problems that included two brake failures in his United Autosports Ligier JS P217.

The 36-year-old admitted however he had been unnerved by the experience.

“You’re scared a little bit, no doubt,” Alonso said. “It happened two times in the first corner – you’re right there at 300-310 kilometres an hour then you hit the brakes and there’s no brakes.

“At night, you don’t see clearly the tire wall or the escape road, so there was even a little more of a scare.”

The McLaren driver took to the track in Florida this weekend to gain experience for racing Le Mans.

Alonso has spoken of his desire to take a crack at the “Triple Crown” of motor-racing – winning the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans.

Only one other driver – Graham Hill – has successfully achieved that hat-trick. Alonso has two wins in Monaco, and impressed at the Indy500 on his debut last year.

Alonso has two wins at Monaco.

Alonso has won twice at Monaco.

Alonso, who posted the 13th fastest qualifying time in Daytona this weekend, said his experience in Florida would be invaluable when he eventually races in Le Mans.

“It is a positive feeling despite the issues and reliability. It was a very nice experience the whole event,” Alonso said.

“If and when I will be Le Mans, it will be the second time at least,” he added. “So I will be much more prepared for the practice, the race, driver changes, communication, driver preparation between the teams, how much rest you need to have.”

Alonso said last week his chances of racing in Le Mans this year are “50-50”.

McLaren have indicated Alonso will be free to race at Circuit de la Sarthe on June 16-17 should he wish to do so as it does not clash with his F1 commitments.

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