MONTMELO, Spain — Despite his highly-publicised morning crash generating the most headlines, Fernando Alonso’s main takeaway from the opening day of testing was the potential of his Renault-powered McLaren.
McLaren’s first official test in the post-Honda era lasted just six laps before Alonso’s right left rear tyre came lose at the final corner, what the team put down to a wheel-nut failure. The incident cost the Spaniard most of the remaining time in the morning session, though he recovered after lunch to complete 48 laps by end of the session.
When asked at his evening media session what thoughts when through his mind after the spin, Alonso smiled and said: “That it was a good day for you guys!
“I thought exactly that because this is a very, very small problem, but very graphic, very obvious. A car in the gravel makes a big thing, but there is six teams in the garage with the door closed, with the car in pieces — but there is no picture of that. So there are a lot of teams in trouble, big trouble, and for us with a wheel nut it will make the thing of the day. So I thought about all of you!”
Alonso could have made up more time in the afternoon session were it not for intermittent rain and a drop in the temperature, which limited running for all 10 teams. The two-time world champion, who won both his titles with Renault in the mid-2000s, was buoyed by his clean laps in the car.
“So far, so good. Obviously very early days but the car was running fine, the engine was running fine. I know a lot of peole from Renault from my past, so 80 percent of the guys in the garage, I know them. I know how hard they work, I know them, I know how good they work and how much attention they pay to driveability, to performance of the engine, so every nice was a good chat with them — both at the filming day and also here.
“Everything is running very smooth, quite good. A few things that we are trying to change and trying to adapt, but so far — on the engine side especially — extremely happy. I think there is a huge potential on the McLaren-Renault team.”