Mclaren leaves race point­less


Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Motor Racing -

SUZUKA, Ja­pan – Honda’s last home Ja­panese Grand Prix as Mclaren’s engine part­ners ended with­out a point for the third year in a row on Sun­day.

Dou­ble world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso put on a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally dogged drive through the field to fin­ish 11th but was hand­i­capped from the start by a 35-place engine-re­lated grid penalty.

The Spa­niard was also handed a rep­ri­mand and two penalty points for ig­nor­ing blue flags in­struct­ing him to get out of the way of front-run­ning cars.

His Bel­gian team-mate Stof­fel Van­doorne started ninth but dropped down the field after con­tact on the open­ing lap to fin­ish 14th.

“This is our home grand prix, so we ob­vi­ously have very strong feel­ings for this race,” said the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer’s For­mula One chief Yusuke Hasegawa at the Honda-owned Suzuka cir­cuit.

”I want to say a huge thank-you to all of the fans that turned out to sup­port us and also to the team who worked tire­lessly through­out the week­end.

“It is a shame they weren’t re­warded with any points, but we still have four races left this sea­son and we’ll con­tinue to bat­tle to the end.”

Mclaren and Honda, who dom­i­nated For­mula One in the late 1980s, are sep­a­rat­ing at the end of the sea­son. The pair have failed to recre­ate the glory days of Ayr­ton Senna and Alain Prost and the three sea­sons since they rekin­dled their part­ner­ship have been marked by dis­mal per­for­mances, largely due to a lack of engine power and re­li­a­bil­ity.

Mclaren, ninth out of ten teams in the over­all stand­ings, will switch to Re­nault next sea­son with Toro Rosso, cur­rently powered by the French man­u­fac­turer, pick­ing up the Honda sup­ply.

Mclaren chalked up con­sec­u­tive points fin­ishes in the last two races in Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia, with Van­doorne sev­enth in both, and would have hoped to equal their pre­vi­ous best streak of three suc­ces­sive points fin­ishes.

“Still, on the whole, this Asian triple-header has been a pos­i­tive one for the whole team,” said Mclaren rac­ing di­rec­tor Eric Boul­lier.

“We’ll def­i­nitely put that mo­men­tum to good use in the fi­nal four races.” (Reuters)

MCLAREN’S FER­NANDO ALONSO of Spain in ac­tion on the Suzuka Cir­cuit, over the week­end.

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