McLaren Honda’s start to winter testing at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya got off to a rocky start on Monday morning. Fernando Alonso came to a stop following an initial installation lap shortly after 9AM due to an oil systems issue.
The team made an engine change and were able to get Alonso back out on track just after 4PM local time, the Spaniard managed to complete 29 laps with a fastest time of 01:24.852s ending the day in 10th place.
The programme for the afternoon consisted of systems checks and data correlation. Speaking following the day of running, Alonso commented by saying:
Obviously today hasn’t been the most perfect start to winter testing, which is a little bit disappointing. We lost a lot of track time which isn’t ideal at pre-season testing, but the situation is what it is, and there’s nothing we can do. It’s important that we learn from it and don’t repeat the same thing, and try to make up some time in the next couple of days.
“There’s not much to gauge from the car at the moment after only 29 laps, since the first few laps of any running on the first day consist of installations and the necessary systems checks. I’m looking forward to having a proper day of running and hopefully we’ll then be able to make some more conclusive evaluations.
“It’s too early to fully assess the performance and the feeling of the new cars under the new regulations, but at least aesthetically they look much more like Formula 1 cars should look. Let’s wait and see what happens in the next few days, but I’m very motivated and ready for the new challenge.
Stoffel Vandoorne will step into the MCL32 for the second day of testing on Tuesday. Speaking following Monday’s action, McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier commented by saying:
Of course, it’s disappointing to have encountered issues so early in the running, but this situation is not too unusual with a brand-new car. It’s better to have these issues here than in Australia. Honda is investigating the problem carefully in order to find the proper solutions, so we need to let them do that before drawing any premature conclusions.
“We had a filming day yesterday which went fine, so today is a bit of a setback, but the team worked hard during the morning session to get the car back up and running as quickly as we could following the power unit change. It’s encouraging that we were able to continue our programme in the afternoon and get some laps under our belt – that’s the most important thing.
“It’s just the first day, so let’s wait and see. We’ve shown some progress in the past two seasons, and I hope we can continue seeing progress this year, too.
Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer, Yusuke Hasegawa commented by saying:
This morning, we detected an oil systems issue during Fernando’s installation lap. In the interest of time we decided the best course of action was to change the PU.
“Based on initial investigations, we think the issue is related to the shape of the 2017 oil tank, but it requires further investigation before we can confirm this.
“In the afternoon, we were able to continue with our test programme for today. We will continue our efforts through the night to improve the situation for tomorrow’s running.