McLaren insists it is not amid an F1 reliability crisis

McLaren insists it is not amid a reliability crisis, despite Lewis Hamilton's string of problems continuing with his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix retirement

McLaren insists it is not amid an F1 reliability crisis

Hamilton lost an almost certain victory at the Yas Marina circuit due to a fuel pump failure, which was the latest in a run of issues to have hit the team.

His team-mate Jenson Button retired with a fuel pump problem in Italy, while Hamilton was struck with a gearbox failure in Singapore and suspension/anti-roll bar problems in Korea and Japan.

That run of breakages has led to McLaren falling out of contention in the Formula 1 world championship battles, but technical director Paddy Lowe has denied that this is evidence of a systematic problem.

"It is just a matter of chance really. It has fallen that way," said Lowe, when asked by AUTOSPORT about why there had been a run of reliability problems.

"If we analyse the total mileage of this car and the number of faults that either did or would have stopped you in a race, this car has been the most reliable car since I started recording it.

"It doesn't feel that way because so many of those problems have occurred in actual races when we have been in the lead, for instance. But that is the way that dice have fallen. They are all unrelated."

Lowe said that the lack of a link between the failures means there is no specific area the team can focus on to improve matters.

He believes a more widespread look at where steps forward can be made is required.

"If you have a chronic issue, you can go and address that one thing," he said. "But the things that have just happened are unlikely to happen again.

"It is a matter of general unreliability and you have to keep improving the game. We have improved it. It is better this year than last year and the year before - although it doesn't look like that or feel like that. So we just have to keep getting better."

Lowe said that Hamilton's problem in Abu Dhabi had been a big surprise, because the design of the fuel pump had been trouble-free for years.

"That was a failure of the high-pressure pump, which is a mechanical unit," he said. "That is a pump we have been running for 10 years without changing design, so it was a massive disappointment for us.

"It is something we are still investigating, and we are not absolutely clear what has gone wrong, even now."

shares
comments
US GP: HRT will struggle to qualify at Austin, says Pedro de la Rosa

Previous article

US GP: HRT will struggle to qualify at Austin, says Pedro de la Rosa

Next article

US GP: Pirelli defends conservative selection of tyres for Austin

US GP: Pirelli defends conservative selection of tyres for Austin
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Plus

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola, whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021