Webber: Alonso might not do whole season
28 March 2017 – Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has suggested that Fernando Alonso might not see out the 2017 season with McLaren-Honda, as he is "frustrated like hell" with ongoing problems.
McLaren and Honda, in the third year of their latest partnership, endured another tough pre-season as the Japanese firm's overhauled power unit lacked reliability and performance.
Alonso had to settle for 13th on the grid in Australia, 2.2s off the pace in Q2, and retired from the race with floor damage, after which he declared his team would be last "in normal conditions".
Alonso is in the final season of his three-year deal with McLaren, but Webber, a close friend, reckons the Spaniard could vacate his seat alongside Stoffel Vandoorne in-season.
"Maybe Fernando is not there the whole year. Maybe Stoffel will have a different team-mate at some point," Webber told Belgian broadcaster Sporza.
"Fernando might not do the whole year, you never know. He's frustrated like hell. He doesn't even want to finish even seventh or sixth.
"It's not like Stoffel, where maybe points for him is quite nice. Fernando is not interested in points, he wants to fight for the podium.
"Fernando mentally is a long way away from where he wants to be."
Webber added that such problems are not so damaging for Vandoorne, who was the last driver to finish the season-opener in 13th place, two laps down.
"He can still do the learning in the background, so it's not a bad scenario for him to learn the first season in Formula 1 because the radar is not really on him," said Webber.
"The radar is on the team, the politics and the problems with Honda.
"I like Stoffel, he's a good guy, I think he has a great chance to have a brilliant future, and we need these talented guys in Formula 1.
"He has such good pedigree in the junior categories, I think there's still good currency for him. You can't have two years like this, but he'll be OK."