Barcelona F1 test: McLaren says it is "50 per cent behind"

McLaren has admitted that it is '50 per cent' behind where it had hoped to be in Formula 1 testing, despite an encouraging day at Barcelona on Friday

Barcelona F1 test: McLaren says it is "50 per cent behind"

With its early testing form held back by a spate of reliability woes, McLaren had its best performance of the winter with Fernando Alonso completing almost 60 laps.

But racing director Eric Boullier is under no illusions that McLaren faces a huge challenge in catching up on the lost early mileage.

DAY ONE: Why McLaren has cause for concern

When asked how far behind schedule the team was, he said: "We have done maybe 50 per cent of the laps we were expecting to do by today.

"So in terms of the plan we are 50 per cent behind."

With F1's pre-season testing halfway through, Boullier confessed that unless things go perfect from now then there will likely not be enough time to get everything sorted for the Australian Grand Prix.

"We had 12 days to get ready and, if we miss half of the 12 days, we will not be 100 per cent ready," he said.

"We need to over-check if we can. I'm not sure we will have time to tick all the boxes but we will do our best.

"It's good to finally put some laps on and get the programme run and push the boundaries back.

"We are doing more things than we expected today and we are catching up on the programmme. Today has run relatively smoothly."

SPEED NOT THE FOCUS

Boullier admitted that with mileage and data now so important for the team, the ultimate performance of the MP4-30 is not something to be concerned about right now.

"We have a lot of systems to check," he said. "That includes a lot of parameters to understand the car and we have some reliability checks to do before we focus on performance.

"We are using every lap we do to feed data back for the development programme. The car is still in launch configuration.

"We couldn't put on enough miles now to justify bringing upgrades.

"Next week we may see another step, and for Australia we will see another big step."

HONDA MORE POSITIVE

Although a new design of an MGU-K component was ready to run on Friday, after a problem with an older version stopped the team on Thursday, it was not fitted because of concerns about reliability of other components.

It should, however, be ready to run on Saturday.

"I don't have any reason to think we can't be prepared for Melbourne," said Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai.

"Everyone feels a little bit behind the schedule right now, but we have some days next week."

Arai also suggested that Honda will try to understand more about its top speed performance later in this test.

"We're still data setting so we don't care about the top speed comparison with the top ones," he said. "But it's very important.

"So tomorrow or the day after, we'll change some aero and engine settings to recover top speed and then we'll compare."

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