Honda F1 engine troubles in first test a surprise for McLaren

McLaren says its troubled start to Formula 1 pre-season testing came as a surprise, after Honda's new engine had run trouble free during a filming day on Sunday

Honda F1 engine troubles in first test a surprise for McLaren

Fernando Alonso only managed to complete an installation lap on the first morning of F1 testing at Barcelona on Monday, after an oil system problem left him sidelined.

ANALYSIS: Why McLaren needs to up its game

There were further mechanical hiccups with a fresh engine that was fitted in the afternoon as the team finally managed to get some laps on the board.

But rather than view that stuttering start as a precursor to fresh troubles with Honda - ahead of the third season of its current programme - McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said the situation was slightly baffling because Alonso completed 100km without issues 24 hours earlier.

"We had an oil system problem and that is all we know now," said Boullier, when asked by Autosport about the team's situation.

"Honda has asked for the power unit to be sent back, and they are investigating what is going on and Honda will tell us what happened.

"It is obviously disappointing because yesterday we had a filming day, we did our 100km and more or less everything went right, so today it was a bit of a surprise to have this problem with the power unit.

"But we have to wait for Honda to come back to us."

Asked how Honda had reacted, Boullier said: "I think they reacted as professional as you would expect.

"They were disappointed and rather than obviously driving everybody nuts around they just sat down, organised calls with Sakura in Japan and also we had some meetings together with us: just to start to maybe help an investigation, and also to decide what to do.

"This is why we decided to work together to take his PU off the car to let's say not let any suspicious thing stay on the car."

With good progress from Honda expected to be key to Alonso's future at McLaren beyond 2017, Boullier admitted the troubles were not ideal.

"Obviously [Alonso] knows minute after minute what is going on, so he was not very happy this morning," he said.

"But he was here yesterday so he drove the car yesterday for a few laps and he got a feel for the car, and I guess he was rather happy than unhappy yesterday. That is what he felt.

"This morning was obviously unexpected and this is what it is."

Boullier insisted the difficult start did not share any similarities with Honda's troubled preparations for its F1 return campaign in 2015, and suggested the matter would not put fresh strains on the team's relationship with its Japanese engine partner.

"I think it is like any marriage: you can have some ups and downs," he said.

"So far we went through a lot of stress in the last couple of years but we have built a positive and constructive relationship, so I don't expect this to change for the future."

shares
comments
Social media filming rules relaxed for first Barcelona F1 test

Previous article

Social media filming rules relaxed for first Barcelona F1 test

Next article

Formula 1 teams warned FIA about shark fin loophole in 2017 rules

Formula 1 teams warned FIA about shark fin loophole in 2017 rules
Load comments
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021