After taking over the wheel of the new McLaren-Honda MP4/30 for day two of the opening pre-season at Jerez, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button was in philosophical mood after completing just six laps of the Spanish circuit on Monday.
The Briton completed only one timed lap, over half a minute slower than the pace up front, but admitted that he had expected this test to be tricky, as it has proved to be with just twelve laps covered in two days after numerous issues.
“We expected this test to be tricky – and the next two days probably won’t be plain sailing, either,” reflected Button. “But people have short memories. Look at last winter – the first test of 2014 was very tough for everyone too.
“So there are no real worries at the moment. We’re just hopeful we’ve solved our issue – the last run of the day seems to have sorted the problem out, so I hope tomorrow will be a little easier. It’d be nice to get some laps on the engine, and to begin to find out where we are in terms of engine driveability and car development.
“This is a very complicated power unit, but its packaging is unbelievable – very tight – and we haven’t had any temperature issues. That’s a massive positive for us, so well done to Honda for that.”
Button felt that the atmosphere within the team has been extremely positive, despite all the issues, and he admits that this bodes well for the future as the McLaren-Honda partnership learns to work together.
“There’s a very positive atmosphere about the place,” insisted Button. “The team isn’t McLaren and Honda, it’s McLaren-Honda. It’s everyone together.”
Yasuhisa Arai, the Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer of Mootrsport, believes that the team feel they have solved the issue that restricted the track time on day two, and hopes that day three, when Alonso returns to the car, will be a more productive day.
“Today was another tricky day, but we feel like we’ve overcome the main issue that affected our running during the first two days of the test,” said Arai.
“Despite our lack of mileage, it’s been a important learning process for our engineers, who’ve really started to develop a close working relationship with everybody at McLaren – that’s a big positive.
“For tomorrow, we’re hopeful that we’ve moved on, and that we can get some more laps completed.”
McLaren chief Ron Dennis spoke about the complexity of the MP4/30, and revealed that some of the technology on board the new McLaren is all-new and as yet untested on a Formula 1, but he feels confident about the cars potential.
“Some of the technologies that have been introduced to the power train haven’t existed before,” said Dennis. “Obviously going into areas that have never been exploited before carries a degree of risk, which we think we have got a handle on.
“That problems that we have experienced are really stemming from the intense packaging that goes on inside the engine – but this is what testing is all about.”