Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Fernando Alonso still has 'minus zero' regrets about missing Monaco

After suffering an engine failure on the formation lap ahead of the Russian Grand Prix Alonso says Honda's early problems in Barcelona were not a surprise. Fernando completed 21 laps but struggled a little to find a rhythm, and could only manage the 20th fastest time.

But his race immediately went awry when a brush with Massa at the first corner sent him through the gravel and down to 11th.

"But I am pretty sure we keep learning from the things that are happening to the auto", Alonso said.

He went off to play tennis, spending more time on the court than in the vehicle that day, before returning to prop up the timesheets in the afternoon and discuss the damage to Honda's reputation.

Alonso's focus over the last month has been split with his preparations for the Indy 500, which he will contest on May 28 instead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

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One rumour is that Alonso has actually set a June deadline, with a new specification of Honda engine potentially set to debut in Canada.

The Spaniard's former team Ferrari could prove to be his only hope of a credible exit, however, with both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen also soon to be out of contract.

McLaren-Honda boss Zak Brown said he accepted Fernando Alonso's challenge to give him a race winning auto for next year, and had no concerns at him leaving the circuit to play tennis after another engine failure.

Hamilton took note of Alonso's improvement, saying "It's fantastic for McLaren and Honda to get into the top 10". "We executed qualifying well and I felt confident in the vehicle".

"Obviously, I don't have 100 percent confidence".

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"On the chassis side we have more or less confirmed what we have thought from the opening races", said Alonso.

Alonso, who has half his $40m (£31.1m) salary paid by Honda, has had engine issues in three of four races.

"Points are the main target".

"I try to support the team and drive as fast as I can, but the problem is not entirely mine".

Alonso said the giddy heights of seventh on the grid had not made him regret in any way his decision to miss Monaco, where overtaking is extremely hard and points would be a definite possibility from such a position.

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"But this one I have a feeling it will be a bad Friday and a good Saturday, good Sunday".

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