More issues cost McLaren track time on final Jerez day

The final day of the first pre-season test at Jerez brought McLaren-Honda yet more problems, with Jenson Button being restricted to just 35 laps and consigned to the bottom of the timing screens.

The morning running was delayed with what the team declared as an ‘operational issue related to the oil levels’, before seeing his afternoon running ended prematurely with a fuel pump issue. Despite this, Button was able to set the quickest time the team had seen all week, but ultimately this still left them over six seconds slower than the ultimate pace.

McLaren’s Engineering Director Matt Morris knew that issues would arise during the four-day test in Spain, but insisted that the ultimate objective of knowing whether the car architecture worked was achieved.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a few issues this week – all of which have been pretty small – but cumulatively they meant we were stuck in the garage for quite some time,” said Morris. “Still, our prime objective coming away from this test was to ascertain that the main car architecture worked, and we’ve done that.

“One of the great benefits we’ve had in designing this car is the amount of work we’ve been able to undertake in close collaboration with Honda – particularly in terms of packaging.”

Despite the stoppages that affected the team on the final day, Morris revealed that the team were able to work through their aerodynamic package, with the data from the car and the feedback from Button set to benefit the team in the long run.

“Today, we had a couple of stoppages, but we were still able to get on with our aero programme – obtaining correlation data for the guys back at the factory, just so we can check that everything’s working as we expected,” said Morris.

“Additionally, Jenson’s been able to give Honda some really good feedback – he’s been constantly providing analysis after every run. That’s to be expected: it’s a new power unit, so there’s a lot of information that being sent back to Japan, and Honda are constantly upgrading the car.

“We head to Barcelona hopeful of further refining and developing the package.”