McLaren-Honda suffered its worst blow out of the four days after a coolant leak stymied any more laps.
Three. That was how many laps the McLaren-Honda MP4-31 managed to pull off before boxing to tear down the motor and find the cause of the leak. According to McLaren-Honda’s official day four report they dropped shortly after testing commenced Thursday, the whole team remains optimistic albeit frustrated at today’s outcome. Earlier Wednesday, a hydraulic leak popped up but was found and remedied. Instead of putting that power unit back in, a backup power unit was swapped into place. Although their mechanics could’ve fixed the coolant leak with Alonso heading back onto the Circuit de Catalunya, the team elected to do things the right way and called off the entire test session to properly investigate.
Disappointing was the theme of Fernando Alonso’s quote to McLaren-Honda’s PR team.
"Today was disappointing after starting the first couple of days of the test so positively. Still, it’s good news that although the issue we had on the car meant we had to miss a lot of today’s running, it’s not a major problem and will be fixed in time for next week’s test."
Matt Morris, McLaren-Honda’s director of engineering did point out that this is what testing is all about, finding problems and fixing them before racing.
"It’s always frustrating when a small issue hampers your running for much of a day, but thankfully it’s relatively minor and we can now look to preparing the car for the second test on Tuesday. Testing is testing, and it gives us the opportunity to identify and work on reliability issues before we start the season."
The real heroes of the day came from Kimi Raikkonen caning his Ferrari to a lap time of 1:23.477 and Kevin Magnussen who pulled off a herculean 153 laps in his Renault.
As far as the MP4-31 is concerned, Sky Sports was frank to point out that the only team that did less laps than McLaren-Honda was Manor with 254 laps for the week compared to Mclaren-Honda’s 257 laps.
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In reality, these leaks are minor compared to what could potentially happen during a test day. If you were disappointed in the lap times and amount of laps run, not to worry as the next round of testing will be focused on power and endurance. So look for Honda’s engineers to bulletproof these motors and give the green light to Button and Alonso to turn up the wick a bit. Testing continues next week on Tuesday.