Mclaren At Rock Bottom In Canada
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Mclaren at Rock Bottom In Canada

The smiles and chirpy, upbeat attitude at McLaren have been admirable given the team's engine woes of late. The cracks were clearly visible last weekend at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal.

Well, you know what they say, the higher the expectation, the deeper the disappointment, which is why Honda F1 boss, Yasuhisa Arai's optimism for the weekend may have been misguided.

After Jenson Button scored McLaren's first points of the season last time out in Monaco, there was hope that the team's prospects had changed, but Montréal's fast circuit would always prove difficult for the Honda power unit, which has consistently struggled with reliability and power output. The engine currently lacks 75bhp and 20km/h compared with its rival manufacturers, but the most worrying elements are the high fuel consumption and awful reliability.

So could the weekend have gone any worse? Probably not. Before the final practice session on Saturday morning, Fernando Alonso's engine had to be replaced. When the session began, Jenson Button's engine failed, which stranded him on track and brought the session to an end. As a result of the new parts required for Button's engine, he had to start at the back of the grid and was given a drive through penalty.

During the race on Sunday, Alonso's patience ran out when he was asked to save fuel at an early stage in the race. Over team radio he said "I don't want, I don't want, already I have big problems now, driving with this and looking like amateurs. So I'd like to race and then I will concentrate on the fuel." Ironically, he didn't need to save fuel after all, as both he and Button retired from the race with exhaust related problems.

It is clear that Honda have a lot of ground to make up, but at least McLaren are not blaming them in public like the bitter dispute between Red Bull and Renault. The McLaren drivers have accepted that this year will be a testing season and that next year, McLaren should have made the progress that was promised. The drivers are only human and can't be blamed for the occasional outburst, but you have to wonder how bad Alonso's luck is to have left Ferrari at the wrong time. He says that he doesn't regret the move to McLaren, but then surely he has to say that!

McLaren fans around the world will be hoping for more luck in Austria at the Spielberg circuit in just under 2 weeks.


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