A hydraulic leak during Day 3 of testing for McLaren-Honda’s MP4-31 scuttled much of today’s testing.
They don’t call it pre-season testing for nothing. According to McLaren-Honda on their official Day 3 report from testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, the MP4-31 suffered a hydraulic leak that caused Jenson Button to pit and ended much of today’s testing. On the other side of the coin, Fernando Alonso was quite confident to reporters in saying that McLaren-Honda was Formula 1’s only hope to overthrow Mercedes.
The morning started bright and early with Jenson Button taking over behind the wheel on his last stint in pre-season testing. The morning session continued where yesterday left off and the first half of the afternoon was drama free. McLaren even tweeted out a photo of their reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne fielding questions from hungry reporters during lunch.
The second half of today’s testing session was a different story.
"The programme was curtailed shortly after 14:30 due to a hydraulic leak, which caused a small fire under the bodywork and a brief moment of drama in the pit lane, as Jenson was unable to stop in the pit box on his in-lap. Fortunately, Jenson is fine and there is no damage to the car."
Eric Bouiller, McLaren-Honda’s racing director was cautious about the whole event and reiterated that this is why they test.
"“This is why we are testing: to check our systems, so we are investigating the issue now and we hope to be back to our pre-planned programme tomorrow morning.”"
Any optimism Satoshi Nakamura had, Honda’s R&D Chief engineer, was still there, yet obviously dampened.
"The issue is still under investigation, but we will analyse the 51 laps of data that we were able to perform today and prepare for tomorrow’s running.”"
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was having a field day with reporters with the comments he was making. Alonso was surprisingly confident with where the team was headed and clearly had a big picture view of where he saw McLaren-Honda in the near future.
"“Last year we were not ready.This year we are going to take an important step forward, and let’s hope it’s a very important step And in 2017 – I have three years of my contract – let’s hope the step is even bigger to beat Mercedes. I think only McLaren-Honda can beat them. I still think the same.”"
McLaren-Honda’s drivers are seasoned veterans who are used to winning championships. Clearly their drivers are itching for podiums. You’d better believe McLaren-Honda’s engineers are double checking and triple checking the cause of this hydraulic leak like crazy.
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There’s nothing worse for a driver then to lose faith in one’s car. For the boy’s from Woking…get to work!