Fernando Alonso Drove Too Fast For His Car’s Electronics At Spa

By taking Pouhon corner flat out in his McLaren-Honda during last weekend’s Belgian GP qualifying session, Fernando Alonso inadvertently caused his car to give up on him.

After getting a nice tow from his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne on the back straight during his final lap in Q2, Alonso’s McLaren-Honda failed to produce any extra power between Pouhon and Fagnes.

According to Autosport, the lack of boost didn’t happened because the car failed, but because Honda’s system got confused about where the car was on the track, since the deployment algorithm is calculated through throttle input.

By taking Pouhon flat out for the first time all weekend during Q2, Alonso tricked his car’s electronics into thinking that he hadn’t gone through the corner yet. This meant that no extra energy was deployed, leaving the McLaren with insufficient power on its way towards Fagnes chicane.

Honda F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa went on to say that his company would likely have to change its procedures in order to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We set a segment to when we have the deployment, and normally that segment is divided by the throttle. Sometimes a driver is making a different operation, so that makes the system confused and we didn’t have deployment at some certain area.”


  • rover10

    You could not write this stuff as fiction! What a blasted waste of a great driver.

  • MJack

    I’ll admit I don’t know the ins and outs of F1…but is this implying that throttle and boost is computer limited? So if a driver really wants to push themselves…they can’t? (Again…fully appreciate that I’m not up to speed on the lastest F1 trickery)

    • Vassilis

      The electric boost is provided at certain points over a whole lap. At the end of the lap it resets and it’s provided again at the same points. From what I understand Honda has made its ECU map understand where to provide that electric boost by looking at the throttle input and calculating where exactly the car is on the circuit. When Alonso took that particular corner flat out the ECU got confused and didn’t know where the car was and therefore didn’t provide the boost where it was supposed to provide it. I’m just a little sceptical about this because if I’m not mistaken that wasn’t the only time Alonso took that corner flat out.

  • Lyonel Baratheon

    Turn off this “smart” system and leave the pilot anone!

    • LeStori

      Without the ‘smart’ system the modern F1 car would be stationary on the grid. The driver would be sitting there twiddling their thumbs. In reality we need to turn back the clock with F1 Remove live telemetry and design the cars around a totally different set of specifications. Formula E is the new F1. It will be more boring and manufacturers can do what they like. F1 should be about man and machine. Not about reliability and economy.

  • alexxx

    this is the dumbest thing I have heard… who is driving? driver or car itself… just leave all the electronics and let the driver drive…no wonder I stopped watching f1

    • LeStori

      I suspect you stopped watching around the time F1 became a reliably sport. When engines manufacturers were forced (to supposedly save money*) to make engines last longer and longer and reliability became the norm. With out uncertainty, without drivers continuously pushing to the limits, there is little excitement. Combine this with some of the worst tyres ever made for racing , deliberately designed to make the racing ‘boring’, we have modern F1. Follow the leader, complaining about no grip, and the turbulence from the car in front. The best drivers in the world, in some of the worst cars ever made for exciting racing.

      * save money in F1. Like trying to stop a gambler. Any money saved in one area is immediately spent in another.

      • alexxx

        No…I stopped watching when start became the most important thing in the race and there was no overtaking….and also didn’t help when I heard some guy in the pits telling the driver in which gear he should pass particular curve….

  • Axel Cortez

    probably the boost is arranged by section of the circuit so the engine lasts longer

  • LeStori

    This is what happens when you let manufacturers decide what engines should be in an F1 car. Who wants a hybrid F1 car? Only Auto Companies, and I would never buy a car based on F1 success. For too long F1 has been an econo race limited by fuel, engine, and tyres. It is not about drivers pushing their cars and themselves to the limit, rather how they can mollycoddle their car around a race track This incident with Alonso has shown how stupid it had gotten.
    After watching the latest Belgium grand prix, on one of the most exciting tracks in the world, the most exciting thing about the race was not the cars, not the drivers, but the views of the race circuit.

    • Vassilis

      I understand your romanticism but I’m afraid you let it get in the way of pragmatism. F1 couldn’t be stuck in 2004 forever and even then by the way, many races were boring. Times change, costs were spiralling out of control to the point the sport wasn’t sustainable, things had to change. The current PUs are very expensive and complicated but they’re also incredible feats of engineering. In 2021 they’ll be less complicated, probably less expensive and even more powerful. I think the current cars with the current tyres are fantastic. Incredibly fast, they do let the drivers push to the limit, things are on the right path. Well, except Halo. Some form of economy was always around. We just didn’t know because we didn’t have such extended access to team radios. F1 at the core of it is about man and machine. The machine changing and the man adapting to that is part of the game.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    Essentially, car electronics constrains pilot’s skills due to dumb AI. What about letting the pilot decide? As an alternative, you can go driverless altogether.

  • steve

    In other words – “our system is crap!”

  • since when did honda become a synonym for such a crappy error?

  • gary4205

    These cars have become a technical nightmare!

    Ditch the hybrid nonsense, most of the nannies, throw in an engine and let the racers RACE.

    Hard to like F1 these days.