Expected and another poor qualifying session for McLaren-Honda, with both drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were just 16th and 17th fastest in qualifying.
Following the poor performance, inside argument broke out in leafy Monza. Down at McLaren, where they have shown the patience of Job with engine makers Honda, fingers are finally being pointed in the direction of Japan.
Honda chief motorsport officer Yasuhisa Arai has brushed off suggestions that he should apologise to Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button for wasting a season of their careers.
Talk alongside Button and Alonso at a post-qualifying press conference, Arai firstly did not directly answer a question asking if he should apologise to the drivers, stating: “I always speak with both drivers.”
When pressed further on the issue of an apology, he delivered a slightly bemused “Why? Why?”
Arai was then asked if he was embarrassed by Honda’s performance, and he insisted that Honda are taking positive steps.
“We are [heading in] a good direction, but you know the results are not so good, but I hope to do our best for the remainder of the season.” he said.
“We put in a lot of effort to get more horsepower and control for the champion drivers, but unfortunately with ICE [combustion engine] horsepower and MGU-K deployment, this circuit is very difficult for our power unit.”
“We already found out what the weak point of our power unit is so we have already started next season’s development,” he explained.
The Woking based squad was prepared for a hard weekend at the Italian Grand Prix, both McLaren drivers will take grid penalties on Sunday for using their ninth internal combustion engine (ICE) in 12 races. The permitted number of engines for the season is five. But both cars dropped out in Q1.
“There are many areas where we need to improve, but on a circuit with six corners we are losing two or three tenths through all those corners, and the rest of the three seconds you need to find on the straights,” Alonso expressed his frustration with Honda.
“On the straights we’re full throttle, and there isn’t much we can do. There’s a lot of power that is important, and on this type of circuit you notice it even more.”