Fernando Alonso tells McLaren: Win or I'm out
Spanish driver will quit F1 team if they are not competitive by September as engine deal heads for the rocks
Fernando Alonso has returned to F1 after his dalliance with the Indianapolis 500 last month, although he is unlikely to be back in the paddock for long.
The former world champion has told McLaren he will quit unless they provide him with a winning car within four months.
"On his return to Formula One… the Spaniard was in uncompromising mood, issuing a carefully-worded ultimatum for McLaren to provide him with a competitive car or leave him no option but to move elsewhere," says Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph.
The driver is not the only figure at McLaren taking Honda to task.
"Alonso’s warning follows a stern rebuke from Zak Brown, McLaren’s executive director, to the team’s engine suppliers at Honda that patience had all but been exhausted," says Brown.
"After six races, McLaren have yet to register a single point, with neither Stoffel Vandoorne nor Jenson Button, Alonso’s stand-in during the Indianapolis experiment, even finishing in Monaco. There is scant prospect of a turnaround at Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix."
An improvement by September "is not on the cards", says Giles Richards of The Guardian, and even though Alonso has "limited options", he insisted he would walk away.
The situation is so bad the team now seem likely to part ways with their engine supplier.
"Until recently, senior figures were briefing that McLaren would definitely stick with Honda in 2018 but the ground appears to have shifted and there are growing indications that they may split," says Andrew Benson of the BBC.
"In that circumstance, McLaren would seek to try to secure a deal for Mercedes customer engines, which would almost certainly provide a competitive boost."
However, even that scenario would mean the end for Alonso. "McLaren want to keep Alonso in 2018 but if they switched to customer engines would not be able to afford to offer him his current salary of $40m a year."