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Honda F1 boss says slow start with new engine is same as rivals had

Honda says its tough start to Formula 1 testing with McLaren in Abu Dhabi is no different to the troubles the established F1 manufacturers encountered in early 2014

McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne only managed three laps - none of them timed - at Yas Marina on Tuesday.

Electronic problems prevented him from running the morning, and "a fuel/data exchange issue" stranded the McLaren on track when it did emerge.

But Yasuhisa Arai, chief officer of motorsport at Honda R&D, said he saw during Jerez testing at the start of the year that Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari had plenty of problems when their turbocharged V6 hybrids first hit the track.

"This week's test is really all about performing some fundamental systems checks on the engine before we begin testing in earnest next February," he said.

"When I was at Jerez earlier this year, I noticed just how many issues the teams faced in readying these turbo engines, so we really wanted to get those initial checks under our belts before winter testing starts in 2015."

He emphasised that the engine used in Abu Dhabi was far from the specification that will be fielded for Honda's first grand prix after a six-year absence in Australia next March.

"The engine we used today is still under development - it's not for the actual race - and we're on schedule to develop it further ahead of the forthcoming season," said Arai.

"There are a few more steps coming before Australia. We're making good progress for the new season as one team."

The McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1 development car had only run at a filming day at Silverstone earlier in November before heading to the Abu Dhabi test.

Vandoorne will continue behind the wheel for the final day of 2014 testing on Wednesday.

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