Alonso Gives McLaren Six Months To Fix Failing Formula 1 Car

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Fernando Alonso reflects on his test session Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The two-time Formula One champion plans to race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 28. The Indianapolis Star

Fernando Alonso says he is giving McLaren until October to give him a competitive car - or else.(Photo: Alejandro Garcia, EPA)

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MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Fernando Alonso is giving McLaren's struggling Formula One team six months to give him a competitive car.

If not, the two-time former champion says he will be looking for another team, or even to abandon F1 altogether.

"Around September, October I need to consider what I will do next year, if it is time to find challenges outside Formula One or if in Formula One I have the opportunity to win the championship," Alonso said Thursday, a day before practice starts at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Alonso is enduring a wretched start to the season. He didn't finish any of the four races, and hit a new low at the Russian GP when his McLaren broke down on the formation lap.

"(It was) really, really bad for us as a team not to start the race. Completely unacceptable," Alonso said, while ominously adding that he still didn't know what had caused the breakdown in Sochi.

Alonso, who has twice won at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is hoping that McLaren's mechanics have worked wonders in the two weeks since Russia.

"Let's see what we can do here," Alonso said. "Definitely, our moment right now is not the best. Hopefully we finish with both cars and accumulate some mileage. Hopefully, this is the starting point of a new championship for us."

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So much finger crossing for signs of progress appears wishful thinking for a team that has yet to score a point. And Alonso made it clear that McLaren must find a solution if it expects him to stick around next year.

"I am happy with the team but we are not winning," he said. "If from here to October I see the opportunity to win in 2018, I will be more than happy to stay with the team. If not, I will be happy to talk to anyone."

The 35-year-old Alonso ranks sixth all-time with 32 wins, but his last victory came at the 2013 Spanish GP while he was with Ferrari. He has struggled with inferior cars since, and his growing frustration has driven him to trading the endless twisting and turning of the labyrinth-like Monaco GP for a run at the Indianapolis 500 on an oval track later this month.

Alonso said he is eager to get in some more practice after passing the rookie orientation test for the Indy 500 last week.

"The driving technique is quite different," Alonso said. "I think that next week when we start the free practice with other people around I will build confidence and my understanding of what the car needs."

While Alonso gave McLaren his ultimatum, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson expressed his concern over his team's decision for next year to use the same Honda engine that has plagued McLaren.

Sauber recently signed a multi-year deal with the Japanese engine maker to ditch its Ferrari power unit at the start of next year.

"It doesn't look like the best decision because Honda is struggling right now," Ericsson said. "But in the long term it could be a good deal when Honda gets it together."

PHOTOS: FERNANDO ALONSO THROUGH THE YEARS

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInFernando Alonso through the years> Fullscreen

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Fernando Alonso, born July 29, 1981 in Oviedo, Spain,
Fernando Alonso, born July 29, 1981 in Oviedo, Spain, began his Formula One career in 2001 and won championships in 2005 and 2006.  Andrej Isakovic, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenFernando Alonso makes a pit stop during the 101st Indianapolis
Fernando Alonso makes a pit stop during the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFernando Alonso comes to a stop after his engine blew
Fernando Alonso comes to a stop after his engine blew in Turn 1, knocking him out of the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFernando Alonso acknowledges the fans after his engine
Fernando Alonso acknowledges the fans after his engine blew in Turn 1, knocking him out of the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFernando Alonso prior to the 101st Indianapolis 500
Fernando Alonso prior to the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFernando Alonso waits to see if his qualification run
Fernando Alonso waits to see if his qualification run is good enough for the pole during qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFernando Alonso gets fitted for an Indy car before
Fernando Alonso gets fitted for an Indy car before the 2017 IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama on April 23. Alonso will drive his first IndyCar race at the 2017 Indianapolis 500.  Butch Dill, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso, right, and his girlfriend Linda Morselli
Fernando Alonso, right, and his girlfriend Linda Morselli walk down the paddock of the Sakhir circuit before the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.  Srdjan Suki, EPA>FullscreenFernando Alonso, right, and Jenson Button have some
Fernando Alonso, right, and Jenson Button have some fun during a photo session at the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix. Button will come out of retirement for "one race only" to replace Alonso in a McLaren at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.  Toshifumi Kitamura, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenFernando Alonso waves as he leaves a Barcelona hospital
Fernando Alonso waves as he leaves a Barcelona hospital on Feb. 25, 2015. Alonso spent three days in the hospital being treated for a concussion after crashing during a test session.  Alejandro Garcia, EPA>FullscreenFernando Alonso receives medical assistance after crashing
Fernando Alonso receives medical assistance after crashing during a test session in Barcelona on Feb. 22, 2015. Alonso briefly lost consciousness and was airlifted to a nearby hospital.  Mark Thompson, Getty Images>FullscreenFernando Alonso poses with a fleet of McClaren race
Fernando Alonso poses with a fleet of McClaren race cars as McLaren-Honda announces its 2015 driver lineup on Dec. 10, 2014, in Woking, England.  Steven Tee, McLaren-Honda via Getty Images>FullscreenLewis Hamilton, right, sprays champagne on Fernando
Lewis Hamilton, right, sprays champagne on Fernando Alonso, left, after Alonso won the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix.  Eugene Hoshiko, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso of Spain celebrates after winning the
Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix, one of his three victories in 2012.  Dita Alangkara, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso pilots his Ferrari on the Circuit Gilles
Fernando Alonso pilots his Ferrari on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal during the 2011 Grand Prix of Canada.  Tom Boland, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso scored one of five wins in 2010 at
Fernando Alonso scored one of five wins in 2010 at the Korean Grand Prix.  Paul Gilham, Getty Images>FullscreenFernando Alonso drinks champagne after winning the
Fernando Alonso drinks champagne after winning the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix.  Mark Baker, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso drives the famed Circuit de Monaco
Fernando Alonso drives the famed Circuit de Monaco in 2009. Alonso is a two-time winner at the prestigious Grand Prix of Monaco (2006 and 2007).  Fred Dufour, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenFernando Alonso passes the famed pagoda at Indianapolis
Fernando Alonso passes the famed pagoda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice for the 2007 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Alonso will return to IMS to race in the 2017 Indianapolis 500.  AJ Mast, AP>FullscreenFernando celebrates with his Renault team members as
Fernando celebrates with his Renault team members as he crosses the finish line to win the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix. Alonso won six other races this season and his second consecutive Formula One championship.  Jaspoer Juinen, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso, left, celebrates with Renault team
Fernando Alonso, left, celebrates with Renault team director Flavio Briatore after winning the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix and securing his first Formula One championship.  Greg Baker, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso douses himself with champagne after
Fernando Alonso douses himself with champagne after winning the German Grand Prix, one of seven races he won in 2005.  Thomas Kienzle, AP>FullscreenFernando Alonso, center, celebrates with his Renault
Fernando Alonso, center, celebrates with his Renault team after winning his first career Formula One race at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix.  Mark Thompson, Getty Images>Fullscreen

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