The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team ended the in-season test in Bahrain on a high, having completed 81 incident free laps with driver Stoffel Vandoorne at the wheel of the MCL32, and without experiencing any issues throughout the day.
It came as somewhat of a surprise to the Woking based squad initially, having had one of their worst race weekends so far this season in Bahrain, suffering MGU-H issues for both drivers across the three days.
Neither driver made it home to the see the chequered flag, with a water pressure failure stopping Vandoorne from being able to even start the race.
Day one of the Bahrain test was no better, as Reserve and Test Driver Oliver Turvey completed just two installation laps before disaster struck again and a water leak in the ERS system curtailed his running for most of the day.
Having carried out investigations prior to the test however, Honda now believe that they have made some progress, and are gradually getting to the bottom of the PU issues that have plagued them so far this season, as Honda R&D Co. Ltd principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamura explained.
“After facing MGU-H issues during the Bahrain Grand Prix, we made concerted efforts to analyse the issue in a short period of time ahead of this test.
“Based on this analysis, we implemented provisional countermeasures against the issue on our PU and we think we were able to confirm the direction of our solution with today’s running.
“We also made some progress today with the set-up of our PU in order to acquire better driveability and reduce the vibration.”
Nakamura believes there is plenty of potential to come from the Honda engine, and although it is still early days in comparison to where their rivals currently sit, they have pinpointed where their weaknesses lie, and are beginning to move forward.
The Japanese manufacturer is feeling positive that they will be able to make further gains across the remainder of the season, and are committed to pushing development onwards.
“Although we are still in behind our competitors in terms of performance, we are confident that we’re heading in the right direction.
“We believe our PU still has more potential and we will continue our development utilising all of the information we have gathered from this test in order to close the gap to our competitors as soon as possible.
“We have less than 10 days to go before the Russian Grand Prix, and we are expecting another tough race there. However, we will keep fighting hard together with McLaren in order to move forward.”