Jenson Button was back behind the wheel of the McLaren Honda MP4-31 as his opening test in the new car came to an end on Wednesday.

The 2009 world champion completed 51 laps this morning before a hydraulic problem cut short his afternoon session. Button set the 12th fastest time with a 1m 26.919s and speaking following his time in the car he commented by saying:

We ran through our normal programme of checks and changes this morning before the hydraulic problem stopped us early this afternoon. It’s not so good to miss out on this afternoon’s running, but it’s testing. Hopefully we can learn from the issue and the team can get a good day’s testing with Fernando tomorrow.

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier commented by saying:

This morning we focussed once again on system checks, which is our plan for all four days of the first test. That went very smoothly and we managed to complete a number of configuration and setting changes on the car between runs.

“Before lunch, we had actually completed our full morning programme, which was satisfying. After the break, as we were starting a longer, race simulation run, we had an unfortunate hydraulic leak, which created a small fire in the back of the car. There’s no damage, just some checks and repairs needed. This is why we are testing: to check our systems, so we are investigating the issue now and we hope to be back to our pre-planned programme tomorrow morning.

Fernando Alonso will take over the car for the final day of the test on Thursday. Speaking about today’s action, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamura commented saying:

This morning’s testing had been an extension of yesterday’s running programme: confirming different engine modes and energy management status of the power unit.  

“Early on in the afternoon session, the car experienced a hydraulic leak so we were unable to do further laps on track. The issue is still under investigation, but we will analyse the 51 laps of data that we were able to perform today and prepare for tomorrow’s running.

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