Alonso was running 10th until, again, the Honda power unit packed up. Picture: Chris Wattie / Reuters

Montreal, Canada - For a moment, the McLaren crew allowed themselves to dream at the Canadian Grand Prix before the all-too-familiar nightmare returned.

Fernando Alonso, whose Indianapolis 500 hopes had been cruelly let down by a Honda engine failure in May, returned to the Formula One fold and was running in 10th until, again, the Honda power unit packed up.

The once great former champion, the second most successful team in the sport in terms of race wins, remains adrift at the bottom of the Constructors' standings without a point after seven races.

Racing director Eric Boullier said in the team's post race press release: "For the first time this season, running in 10th place within spitting distance of the flag, we dared to hope.

"OK, what we were daring to hope for were hardly rich pickings: a solitary world championship point for Fernando, who had driven superbly all afternoon, as he's driven superbly every race-day afternoon for the past two-and-a-half years.

"But, after so much toil and heartache, even that single point would have felt like a victory. And then came yet another gut-wrenching failure. It's difficult to find the right words to express our disappointment, our frustration and, yes, our sadness. So I'll say only this: it's simply, and absolutely, not good enough."

'It should have been a point'

McLaren executive director Zak Brown, who has ramped up criticism of the team's engine partner, reiterated that.

"It just let go without any warning," he said. "It feels like you could probably replay this interview at a lot of races this year. Very frustrating. This just kind of reinforces that we can't just kind of sit around and wait for things to come good. We need to be proactive in that."

Honda's F1 head Yusuke Hasegawa said the power unit had lost oil pressure due to a mechanical issue and would be taken back to Japan for further inspection

Joining the fans

Alonso brought his car to a halt and clambered into the nearby grandstands to join the fans.

"I thought to give the gloves to the grandstands," he said, "but it was a little bit too far so I thought I would go a little bit closer."

The former double world champion's season has been littered with engine failures and grid penalties, and he could see little sign of that changing.

"We will start last probably in Baku," he said, referring to the next race in Azerbaijan. "It's a tough time."

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