McLaren-Honda’s MP4-31 and Jenson Button ticked off 84 laps of drama free testing in Barcelona.
Although this was just test day one of four for McLaren-Honda, the fact that there was no drama from the car or from the pitlane bodes extremely well for the Woking team. According to McLaren F1 on their official report they dropped earlier today, it looks like Jenson Button lapped the Circuit de Catalunya 84 times and was running mid-pack amongst the eleven other teams out there. Take a look at McLaren-Honda’s placing below.
The two stars of today’s testing had to come from Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who put down the fastest lap of the day at 1:24.939 with Lewis Hamilton close behind at 1:25.409. Hamilton and Mercedes really took advantage of testing by putting in more than 156 laps of seat time, besting the record put in by his teammate Nico Rosberg last year.
But for McLaren-Honda, it was all about getting everything squared away with this new car. According to Eric Bouiller, McLaren-Honda’s racing director,
"Today, just like the next few days, is testing, and we are focussing on just that: testing. It’s imperative to complete all the necessary system checks, gather the required data and correlate the numbers with what we expected from our preparations over the winter."
Bouiller was cautious about raising any expectations that their fans or other critics would have. Bouiller reiterated that these are obviously still very early days and performance wouldn’t be the focus.
Jenson Button, on the other hand, was clearly happy to be back in the seat.
"“I’ve missed Formula 1 massively over the last few months – it seems like the longest break I’ve ever had in my career – so it’s great to be back, to be in the car, and get some laps under my belt”"
Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata did split after a short time together as a married couple so perhaps that’s what he meant by “longest break I’ve ever had..”
Satoshi Najamura, Honda R&D’s Chief Engineer was just glad that nothing catastrophic happened.
"“We are pleased to have a solid day’s testing on our first day back. With 84 laps of running, we were able to run through all the necessary power unit system checks, and complete the power unit’s run programme for today."
Testing continues tomorrow with Fernando Alonso behind the wheel.