McLaren’s Boullier: “It’s a shame we weren’t able to maximise the track time today”

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McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier is remaining upbeat about the team’s problems during the first two days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, after power unit issues again kept their driver, this time new recruit Stoffel Vandoorne, in the garage for the majority of the day.

“It’s a shame we weren’t able to maximise the track time today due to the issue with the power unit, but it was encouraging once again that the team pulled together to replace the PU quickly in order to enable us to return to the track at the end of the afternoon session.

“When you design a new car and power unit under new regulations, it’s possible that there will be issues that arise that you cannot foresee in pre-season development.

Testing is of course there to iron out any niggles and repair any issues ahead of the start of the new season, however, such fundamental components as the oil tank and engine, causing issues at this stage in the process is not a good sign for the Woking based squad.

Honda are concerned that the shape of the 2017 oil tank is what may have caused Fernando Alonso’s oil leak on Monday, and having to redesign that would be a huge undertaking, and could also have a knock on effect to other parts of the car.

Boullier however is confident that Honda will get to the bottom of the issues encountered so far, and McLaren will see their fortunes turn around before the new season gets underway.

“Of course, it’s unfortunate, but the important thing is that we learn from them, and there is already a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes by Honda to identify the issues and rectify them as soon as possible. 

“Testing is just that: the prove-out of new components prior to the start of the season.

“We’ll continue with our planned test programme tomorrow with Fernando, and keep pushing to make the most of the day’s running.”

For now, McLaren will continue with their prepared programme of running, and just hope they can rack up some significant mileage with Alonso on day three, having so far managed to complete just 69 laps, compared to the 320 laps of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.