Further PU woes hamper McLaren’s first day of testing in Bahrain

by Rachel Hack

The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team had hoped to use the two days of in season testing in Bahrain to improve their reliability following the raft of technical problems that have plagued them since the start of the 2017 season, however that goal hit a setback when further issues hampered their running early on during day one.

Having completed two installation laps in the MCL32, Reserve and Development Driver Oliver Turvey was side-lined to the garage, when a water leak issue from the ERS was detected, and a full PU change was deemed necessary to allow time for the cause to be investigated.

That meant extremely reduced track time for the Woking based squad whilst the engineers worked tirelessly to get the Brit back out on track before the chequered flag fell. That was a feat they did manage to accomplish, and Turvey ended the day having completed 17 laps, including two timed efforts.

McLaren Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier advised that the investigation is still ongoing, but believes it could be linked to the problems the team experienced during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

“We suspect the issue is related to those we encountered over the race weekend in Bahrain, but the circumstances were slightly different, so until the Honda engineers have done a full investigation we cannot be sure.”

Honda R&D Co. Ltd principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamura confirmed the Japanese manufacturer are working hard to get to the root of the problem.

“It’s still under investigation whether the issue we had today is the same as the one from the last week, and we are also investigating whether those issues are related to the specific features of Bahrain, such as weather or circuit layout.

“We are working hard to solve these issues before the Russian Grand Prix.”

Despite the lack of running during the first day of testing, the team were still able to collect some useful aero and PU data, before driver Stoffel Vandoorne takes over at the wheel on day two, and Nakamura is hoping they will be able to get down to business and complete their original programme, without interruption.

“We still have one more day to go tomorrow. We will be aiming to complete as many laps as possible in order to proceed with our development in both reliability and performance.”

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