It was said with feeling, and timed for maximum effect. At Honda’s home race, on the track it owns, Fernando Alonso left the watching millions around the world in no doubt as to what he felt about the Japanese company’s engine in the back of his McLaren.
Alonso is paid a salary of $40m (£26.3m), half of it funded by Honda. Regarded as arguably the finest driver in the world, whose words have the impact such a status demands, he used his team radio to describe his car’s lack of straight-line speed as “very embarrassing”.
He likened it to an engine from the GP2 feeder category – where cars have about 600bhp compared to the 900bhp of the engine in Lewis Hamilton’s Japanese Grand Prix-winning Mercedes.