McLaren testing issues continue; Dennis unsure on Alonso return date

A hydraulic leak saw McLaren-Honda’s opening day of the final pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya end with only seven laps completed.

It was another horror day for the team, who have had endless issues with their new MP4/30, in particular a MGU-K seal, but the team were forced to end their day shortly after lunch.

“We’re bringing the shutters down on today – a hydraulic leak means we need to change the engine. #TestingIsTesting,” read a tweet from the team’s official Twitter page.

Jenson Button managed to complete one timed lap in that time, but his 1m31.479s was almost eight seconds adrift of the outright pace set by the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Button is scheduled to share the testing duties this week with test driver Kevin Magnussen, who is stepping into the seat while Fernando Alonso recuperates from his testing crash of last week, with the team unsure on when the Spaniard will be ready to return to the cockpit.

“There will be some tests,” said McLaren chief Ron Dennis. “There is a process laid down by the FIA and I can’t see any reason why he [Alonso] won’t just sail through, but it’s not for me to determine.

“He had the accident a short while ago. Would anybody say it’s common sense to bring Fernando here? No. After that, we put it down the road.

“He’s completely lucid, normal, talking, wants to drive, but the doctor said: “if you really want to be sure, and you want to give him the best chance of going to Australia, then the best thing to do is to rest him.

“We’re not going to go against the wishes of the doctor; it’s as simple as that.”

Dennis also revealed that Alonso was unconscious briefly following his crash, and that was the reasoning behind him remaining in hospital for three nights before being allowed home to continue his recovery.

“He had completely clear CT and MRI scans,” revealed Dennis. “At no stage of the inspection process was there any indication of any damage to his brain.

“He’s not even concussed. The technical definition of a concussion you can see in a scan. The possibility is the change of direction [of his head] happened so fast it was like a whiplash of the brain – it didn’t bleed, or bruise, or anything.

“He is physically perfect. He got the symptoms [of concussion] at one stage, but nothing that shows [on a scan].”