Fernando Alonso admits it's 'time for change' for McLaren and Honda
Alonso backs Brown's comments and says "maybe now is the time to change the situation" regarding McLaren's Honda partnership; Spaniard says only race wins will convince him to stay with team
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 08/06/17 11:53pm
A frustrated Fernando Alonso believes McLaren are right to consider a future away from Honda, while also once again hinting he is ready to "change projects" himself in his quest to win a third world championship.
After three years of failed promises, the McLaren-Honda partnership appears to be at breaking point, with the Woking team's managing director Zak Brown admitting he now has "serious concerns" about their engine suppliers title-winning potential.
And in the wake of a wretched start to the 2017 season, Alonso has also all-but called for McLaren to consider ditching Honda for a more powerful engine provider.
"We are not competitive," Alonso told Sky F1's Ted Kravitz. "The chassis especially is very competitive and among the best. We are lacking in the power unit. McLaren belongs to the top and fighting for world championships. After two and a half years, maybe now is the time to change the situation.
"I just want to win. Zak wants to win, Honda wants to win. There are some parts of the team which are now finally ready to fight for the championship, some others are not, and it's up to McLaren to change wherever they may feel is necessary."
The uncertainty surrounding McLaren's uncompetitive car and power unit also directly affects Alonso's future. The Spaniard's contract expires at the end of the season and the 35-year-old has previously admitted he is willing to move elsewhere in 2018.
And as the two-time world champion prepared for his Formula 1 comeback following an impressive debut Indianopolis 500, he cut a despondent figure as he was asked what would convince him to stay at McLaren.
"We have to win," Alonso insisted in the pre-Canadian GP press conference. "If we are winning before September, I will stay."
Put to him that race victories were surely impossible in the MCL32 - McLaren are the only team without a single point in the Constructors' Championship - Alonso added: "What we all want is to win.
"I think Zak's comments about the Honda team is probably what you expect him to say. He wants to win, he wants to put McLaren in a contender position for championships again. After three years we are not in that position so things have to change for the team.
"Same with me, I want to win. I joined this project because I wanted to be world champion and we are not in that position. If you don't see things changing and if you are not in a competitive position, maybe you change project."
What will Alonso do if he leaves McLaren?
Alonso has already admitted that the doors at Red Bull are closed, while a return to Ferrari seems highly unlikely after his tempestuous departure. That potentially leaves Mercedes as the two-time world champion's only 'winning' option in F1.
But could the Indy 500 have opened Alonso's eyes to other series? After qualifying fifth, the 35-year-old led what he called "the biggest race in the world" for some time before an engine failure ended his McLaren-Honda Andretti chances.
"A third world championship is still my biggest priority," added Alonso. "I've developed my skills to drive F1 cars over the last 16 years so it is the best car that I can drive.
"But [the Indy 500] is another time that I jump in any car, in any category, with any tyres, with any rules, that I go there and I'm competitive - so I'm not afraid of the future.
"If I can't win here, I still love motor racing and I will race in any series - and I know that I can win."
Can Mercedes hit back in the 2017 title fight with Ferrari? Don't miss the Canadian GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. The race starts at 7pm on Sunday. Watch the race for £6.99 on NOW TV
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