Alonso's McLaren breaks again, Mercedes soars in practice

McLaren-Honda renews with Hilton

Just when McLaren had nowhere to go but up, it sunk to a new low Friday when Fernando Alonso's first lap of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix ended in a puff of smoke and a pool of engine fluid. "The engine blew up after one corner", Alonso told Sky F1 television.

Asked about what his reaction was when he saw Alonso come to a smoky halt, Brown said: "Sadness".

Alonso, who has half his $40m (£31.1m) salary paid by Honda, has had engine issues in three of four races. I understand very much, and it's been clear from day one, if we are not competitive then he will go away.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso says Honda is risking its reputation with its poor performance this year.

When it became clear his auto wouldn't be ready to the rest of the morning, Alonso left the circuit and opted to play tennis instead.

"I have the hope that at this grand prix we had our problems on Friday so that on Saturday and Sunday everything will go well".

The latest blow comes a day after Alonso issued an ultimatum: either McLaren gives him a competitive auto by October of he will look to change teams or even consider leaving F1.

The team are doing their best to persuade Alonso to re-sign and have put together a programme for him to compete in the Indianapolis 500 later this month. When we complete my full last lap in a Formula 1 auto which was on the Saturday in Russian Federation because on Sunday we didn't manage to complete the formation lap and here we could not manage to complete the out lap.

The two-time champion's contract with McLaren concludes at the end of this year, and Alonso has made it clear he wants to have a competitive auto as soon as possible.

Sporting a new funky nose to its Silver Arrows, Lewis Hamilton clocked a fastest lap of 1 minute, 21.521 seconds, with Vatteri Bottas only 0.029 seconds slower. Rumor has it that he could return to Renault, with which he won his two world championships over a decade ago, or that he could take Kimi Raikkonen's place alongside Sebastian Vettel back at Ferrari again.

Despite his optimism of the front, the new event of Alonso further darkens his future at McLaren-Honda, while he did not finish a single race in the first four Global Positioning System of the season. If, before September or October, l see a possibility that we are in a position to win in 2018, l will be more than happy to stay with the team.

Sky F1's Martin Brundle said: "It's just unbelievable that they can not get the thing running. I'm happy with the team, but I'm not winning".

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