McLaren should not have felt compelled to allow Red Bull to use Honda Formula 1 engines as it was “not our problem,” says Fernando Alonso.
A Honda supply was one option under consideration for Red Bull as it hunted for a new power unit following its decision to split with Renault and the failure to conclude acceptable deals with Mercedes or Ferrari. It now appears set to stay with Renault after all, with the Honda door having closed when McLaren vetoed the plan.
“I don’t think that McLaren or Honda should be in the middle of this,” said Alonso ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. “It’s a Red Bull issue that they found themselves in that situation.
“Apparently they don’t want this year’s Ferrari engine for next year, so probably they don’t want this year’s Honda engine for next year. It’s their problem. It’s not our problem.”
Although it has been suggested that Honda’s development efforts would have benefited from a second team running its engines, Alonso believes it would be unfair for another team to reap the rewards of McLaren’s effort with Honda as the engine improves.
“We are happy as a team with the work we’ve done and the start of this new project, the comeback of the McLaren-Honda partnership,” he said. “We help each other a lot, McLaren helps Honda a lot, Honda helps McLaren a lot.
“In tough moments the team has been very united, and even if sometimes there have been rumours here or there that there are some tensions – of course, when we are last or out in Q1 there has been very little tension, compared to what it could be.
“I’m very proud of our work this year and how the interaction of the two companies and the two cultures has been much better than anyone could imagine. Now to give engines to another team, and all the knowledge that we put together, would be a little bit unfair [on McLaren], maybe.”