Honda insists it takes no offence at the use of "humour" to discharge the frustration felt by its F1 drivers at the tail end of 2015. McLaren's all-champion duo of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have been largely patient this year, but their frustration appeared to spill into humour over the course of the penultimate race weekend of the 2015 season.
After grinding to a halt in qualifying, the Spaniard winked theatrically before reclining into a picnic chair with his face to the sun. The social media phenomenon #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe then exploded, as photoshop-savvy fans depicted him basking with lions, at the dentist, in an ejector seat and in many other amusing scenes.
And both Alonso and Button took a cheeky trip to the podium over the Interlagos weekend, the British driver joking that it was "the most fun" he would have in Brazil. "We passed close to the podium and said 'We will not be this close again so let's take a picture'," agreed Alonso. But honour is an important element of Japanese culture, and so it is conceivable that poking fun at Honda's ongoing woes might not have been well-received by the carmaker.
Honda's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai is quoted by AS newspaper: "It is clear that Fernando is in a frustrating situation and I think we are frustrated as well. But the drivers, both of them, show the kind of humour that helps everyone in the team. I have a lot of respect in terms of the mentality and the professionalism that they have," Arai-San added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing