McLaren driver Fernando Alonso says the strong pre-season performance of Honda, now supplying Toro Rosso after splitting with McLaren, should be taken with a grain of salt
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.