McLaren morale dropped again today with news that frustrated Fernando Alonso has bought himself a Mercedes engine.
‘Mercedes sell customer engines, so Fernando has become a customer,’ explained a source close to the Spanish driver. ‘It’s being delivered tomorrow and then he’ll insist the team fits it to his Mp4-30, even if it makes the engine cover a bit lumpy.’
The installation of a Mercedes engine to Alonso’s McLaren is certain to change the tone of radio messages the former champion relays to his pit wall during the race, moving from ‘there’s a funny noise and everything’s stopped working’ and ‘What do you mean save fuel? If I go any slower I’ll be stopped’ to more upbeat communications such as ‘It’s saying mode 2, could you look in the manual in my bag in the motorhome to see what I do next?’ and ‘There’s a blue light come on with, like, a picture of a desk fan or something, can you run down to the Merc pit and ask them what it might mean’.
Meanwhile, beleaguered Jenson Button has yet to follow his team mate in buying a Mercedes engine but is said to be more optimistic about his pace in the next Grand Prix having just picked up some Toyo R888s off eBay.