SATURDAY 25 MARCH, MELBOURNE, QUALIFYING
“Okay, Fernando, we are through to Q2,” says his race engineer, Mark Temple. “Now we just need some rain,” says an underwhelmed Alonso. He quits the fray at the end of the middle session in 13th, 0.3 seconds off tenth-placed Carlos Sainz. Vandoorne manages only one lap in Q1 after a fuel-ow problem and is 18th.
The Mercedes switch is still very much on the agenda on Saturday evening – at least as far as we, the media, are concerned. “Rumours are rumours,” stonewalls team manager Eric Boullier at McLaren’s post-qualifying ‘meet the team’ session, while Honda F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa appears to spend most of the occasion failing to understand what he’s being asked. It’s cringingly embarrassing.
Again, Alonso has the look of a man who’d rather be anywhere than stuck in front of us lot. Where’s his head at? “Well, as I said in testing I expect a big change in the team, a big reaction,” he says. “We will not be 13th all season – or I will not be 13th all season.”
His breaking point is surely approaching.