Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren: Disappointing to encounter further problems

Stoffel Vandoorne

The McLaren-Honda team experienced a second day of mixed fortunes on track during today’s testing.

While Stoffel took to the track shortly after 09:00 to commence his scheduled programme of installation laps, systems checks and set-up changes, he managed only to match Fernando’s tally of 29 laps from the previous day before he lost power.

To make the best use of time, the team elected to change the power unit in order to get the car back on track as soon as possible, enabling Honda to begin full investigations into the cause of the problem.

The team once again worked quickly and efficiently to get the MCL32 back up and running, and Stoffel was able to return to the track and continue the day’s run plan. He ended the day having completed 37 laps.

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It wasn’t the best day of running for us, but I’m pleased that despite the issue we still managed to get some laps on the board – I was very happy to get behind the wheel after four months without driving. It’s important with a new car and a new design that you can step into the cockpit for the first time and feel confident to push, and I immediately felt comfortable in the car, so that was definitely a positive for me.

“The initial feelings this morning were quite good, then unfortunately we had a loss of power, and we’re still investigating what the issues were. The first two days have been a bit difficult, but the team has done a great job to get the car up and running again so we could get back out on track.

“There are still more days of testing this week and every lap in the car is valuable; it’s my first season in F1, so during every lap I try to make the most of it. Hopefully tomorrow and Thursday Fernando and I will have a couple of better days.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: “It’s a shame we weren’t able to maximise the track time today due to the issue with the power unit, but it was encouraging once again that the team pulled together to replace the PU quickly in order to enable us to return to the track at the end of the afternoon session.

“When you design a new car and power unit under new regulations, it’s possible that there will be issues that arise that you cannot foresee in pre-season development. Of course, it’s unfortunate, but the important thing is that we learn from them, and there is already a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes by Honda to identify the issues and rectify them as soon as possible.

“Testing is just that: the prove-out of new components prior to the start of the season. We’ll continue with our planned test programme tomorrow with Fernando, and keep pushing to make the most of the day’s running.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head Of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: “After completing 29 laps, we lost power to the PU. Our priority was to minimise the loss of track time and continue with our testing programme, so we took the decision to change it. We know we had a mechanical issue and we will not be reusing the power unit for this test, but we’ll have to investigate fully to identify the cause.

“Stoffel was back out on track by late afternoon and we were able to recover our schedule.

“Of course, it was disappointing to encounter further problems today, but tonight we’ll carry on our hard work to make further progress for Fernando’s session tomorrow.”

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