NOVEMBER 2, 2015

Alonso told King of Spain he has no engine

Fernando Alonso admitted his feelings about his Honda engine to the former King Carlos of Spain.

It was one year ago when 77-year-old Juan Carlos spilled the beans on fellow Spaniard Alonso's then-unknown future, revealing that he is heading to McLaren-Honda for 2015.

Now with Alonso firmly at struggling McLaren, as Carlos attended the Mexican grand prix, it appears the pair had another confidential conversation.

"He told me that he has no engine and he can't do anything," the former King told the Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

It seems Alonso may have been referring to a terminal engine problem that had been discovered aboard his car before the race.

Indeed, Alonso admitted afterwards that he knew he would break down after one lap, but he wanted to at least line up on the grid "out of respect" for the hordes of passionate Mexicans.

Alonso and his fellow champion teammate Jenson Button are having to stumble through the last few grands prix of the season with a firm eye on a much better 2016.

Alonso has said he holds out faint hopes even of race victories.

"Will we win races? I don't think so," Button told Brazil's Globo Esporte in Mexico, "but I think we will fight for the podium. Hopefully a win.

"But I am feeling especially excited about 2017, when I think McLaren-Honda will be able to fight for the title. There are big changes coming for the regulations and Honda will be much more experienced by then," he added.

Button admitted Mexico, strewn with more grid penalties for the McLaren drivers and with Honda dozens of kilometres per hour down on the fastest cars, was "painful".

But he says a lot of those problems can be eliminated for 2016.

"The power unit we will have next year will be quite a lot different to what we have now," Button said. "We will not have the problems generating power from the hybrid side, which everyone knows is our biggest issue," he added.