McLaren issues necessitate component re-design

by Paul Hensby

It was another day of trouble for the McLaren-Honda team on day one of the pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Jenson Button being restricted to just 21 laps and ending up eighth fastest.

After a promising start, Button was amongst the early pacesetters, but was forced to end his day early after his power unit developed a fault. Honda has since identified the cause, and has said the part in question requires redesigning so not to repeat its failure.

Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer, and Chief Officer of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai was disappointed to see the day’s running ended early, and with the new part not due to arrive at the circuit until Saturday, the same problem could arise again.

“We had to stop running this morning after discovering a faulty seal on the MGU-K,” revealed Mr Arai. “That faulty part then caused an issue that requires full replacement of the power-unit – and the time needed to make those changes effectively ends today’s programme.

“We’ll need to run a re-designed component to avoid a potential repeat of the problem. Unfortunately, we won’t be in possession of that updated part until Saturday, which means that we may face the same problem when we run again tomorrow.”

The only positive Mr Arai could bring was that the issue was found during testing, while the team have switched their drivers testing rota, with Fernando Alonso driving on Friday and Button on Saturday so that both are given equal opportunities with the new part.

“Such issues are all part of testing, but we’ll make the best changes we can overnight, and will plan for a productive day of running – with Fernando behind the wheel – tomorrow,” said Mr Arai.

“Hopefully, with a bespoke solution ready for Saturday, both drivers will have an opportunity to get some useful laps under their belts, with Jenson driving on Saturday, and Fernando concluding the test on Sunday.”

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