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It's Honda's problem, not mine, says Alonso

13 May 2017

A puff of smoke enveloped the two-time former champion when his McLaren spun out of a turn and into the gravel at the start of the morning session at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya.

McLaren's team radio told Alonso to "stop the auto, stop the auto, engine problem" as liquid dripped from the underside of the vehicle.

The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of the year and has not stood on the podium since returning to McLaren at the start of 2015.

"It's a question for Honda not for me. The engine blew up after one corner", Alonso told Sky F1 television.

"The second is to find how competitive we can be here, which is quite different to the last couple of races, plus with the updates people bring here, normally things change".

Fernando Alonso left instead to go play some paddle, a racquet sport similar to tennis.

"I don't know", Brown responded when asked how hard it would be to maintain Alonso beyond 2017.

It's expected the engine will take two to three hours to fix, meaning Alonso should get back out on the track later today.

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"We have been underperforming in the first four races and we didn't finish any of the Global Positioning System yet, in my case".

Alonso, who has twice won at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is hoping that McLaren's mechanics have worked wonders in the two weeks since Russian Federation.

McLaren-Honda boss Zak Brown said he accepted Fernando Alonso s challenge to give him a race winning vehicle for next year, and had no concerns at him leaving the circuit to play tennis after another engine failure. He has struggled with inferior cars since, and his growing frustration has driven him to trading the endless twisting and turning of the labyrinth-like Monaco GP for a run at the Indianapolis 500 on an oval track later this month.

As for the rest of practice, Lewis Hamilton was 0.029 seconds quicker than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Barcelona.

Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel clocked the third and fourth fastest times, less than half a second off Hamilton's pace.

F1 leader Vettel also had a mishap early, when what he suspected to be an issue with his gearbox forced him to stop coming out of pitlane. After marshals rolled him back to his garage, his mechanics quickly fixed the problem and he went back out.

"I like this Formula 1 so my intention and first priority is to race here next year and I want to win". It's so unreliable, he hasn't yet finished a race in 2017, and so slow, his best qualifying result has been P13.