Alpine unreliability like Honda days but only my car breaks down

A frustrated Fernando Alonso said he is counting down to the end of his time at Alpine after his final retirement from the Mexican Grand Prix.

Alonso was leading the midfield in seventh place until his car started having a problem with the Renault power unit, eventually ending his race.

“For car 14, there are always reliability issues,” Alonso lamented. “With 20 laps to the end I lost one cylinder, so I was running with five cylinders, 20% less power,” explained Alonso. “I was 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens and my teammate.

“So I think the race up to that point has been exceptional. Austin and this is where I rate my best two races in terms of pace. It was better when we exploded like that at the end, we stopped the car and stopped doing those laps.”

The retirement is the latest in a string of technical difficulties Alonso has faced in his second year at Alpine, which he will leave at the end of the year.

“I lost 60 points this year, so we’ll add another six, so it’s about 66. And obviously everyone else benefits from that, so everyone scores two more than they should.

“But yeah, it’s just amazing that every race only one or two cars are retiring and it’s always car 14. [I] blew up five engines I think this year, the problem in Australia in qualifying, in Austria I didn’t even start [a] race because it was a blackout.

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“So I think in 19 races, more or less 50% of the races, we didn’t score the points we deserved. But there’s nothing we can do now.”

He said he hasn’t seen such unreliability since he drove Honda’s first V6 turbo hybrid engine at McLaren in 2015. It was notoriously prone to breakdowns, and the many changes to engine components resulted in it receiving huge penalties at the grid position.

“In Honda we had about 72 places in Honda’s first year [grid] penalty at the end of the year, so something like that,” he said. “But the thing in Honda is both cars stopped. This year only car 14 will stop.”

Alonso, who will join Alpine at the end of the year, says Renault has a lot of work to do on their powerplant during the off-season.

“I mean, the bike can’t finish the races. It can’t be bad luck if you have to switch six or seven bikes like we did and we still don’t finish in the races.

“So I think they have some work to do next winter, hopefully not too much, and let’s see.”

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