McLaren-Honda suffer maiden test blues after electrical woes

The McLaren F1 Team endured a difficult couple of days at the Yas Marina Circuit as their first official test with their new Honda power unit saw the team only complete five laps with their Belgian reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne over two days, none of them timed.

Fuel system and data logging issues were blamed on Tuesday, while a different unrelated electrical problem surfaced on Wednesday, with the team being forced to take off the battery pack and chase the problems, meaning Vandoorne could not get out on track as much as the team would have desired beforehand.

Racing Director Eric Boullier insisted the team would rather have these issues in Abu Dhabi this year than in the first pre-season test next year, and that any running they managed was just a bonus. He was happy how the renewed relationship between McLaren and Honda grew over the two days in the desert.

“This is just part of the learning experience we expected when we took on the interim car programme,” said Boullier. “It’s useful to discover these issues pre-Christmas, as it allows us to deepen our understanding of the complex integration between power-unit, ancillaries and the car. “And, to be honest, I’d rather be ironing out these problems here in Abu Dhabi, than discovering them in Jerez, next February. “It’s definitely been a positive for both McLaren and Honda to conduct this test – there have been some troublesome issues, but we’ve made progress. We’ve also made an excellent start to the relationship – communication and interaction have been great, and you can really feel the positivity and sense of purpose in the garage. “Any mileage we accrued this week would simply have been a bonus.”

Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer Yasuhisa Arai was not to downbeat after the lack of running in Abu Dhabi, insisting it made everyone understand just how complex the system on the McLaren is, and insists the team will be working hard to resolve the issues ahead of the first pre-season test of 2015 in Jerez.

“This week’s test is really all about performing some fundamental systems checks on the engine before we begin testing in earnest next February,” said Arai. “When I was at Jerez earlier this year, I noticed just how many issues the teams faced in readying these turbo engines, so we really wanted to get those initial checks under our belts before winter testing starts in 2015.

“Actually conducting testing at the track enabled us to understand the complexity of the system at a deeper level. We now know what is necessary to further develop the system, and we’ll work together with McLaren to be ready for the next test – at Jerez in February.”