Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain, 2014

Engine and electronics problems hinder McLaren

2014 F1 season

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain, 2014McLaren’s final day of testing before the first race of the season was the least productive for the team since the MP4-29 first took to the track.

Jenson Button managed just 22 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit before a series of problems halted his progress.

An engine failure on Button’s car – which McLaren, like fellow Mercedes users Williams, described as a “high-mileage unit” – kept him from doing much running in the afternoon.

The team were unable to conduct a test of a new front wing for the Australian Grand Prix due to a further problem with the car’s electronics which they have not diagnosed yet.

McLaren logged over 4,100 kilometres of testing in Jerez and Bahrain, though Mercedes, Williams and Ferrari all completed more.

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Engine and electronics problems hinder McLaren”

  1. Even if they get all these issues ironed out, I wonder if their innovative butterfly suspension will be a good idea on race distances. It may even provide a little more downforce, but if the aero drag makes them limp along conserving fuel on the longer races, then it will be a net loss. I’d like to see their sector times for sector 2 where the twisty bits are and how they compare there to the other teams. It may not even be providing the downforce they want.

    1. To be honest I don’t see the merits in it – sure, it may improve the evacuation of air from the diffuser but it looks like a very inefficient way of doing so. I’m not entirely convinced the downforce gains outweigh the drag penalty, but of course I haven’t seen the CFD simulations!

      1. My thoughts exactly. I think there is going to be so much work to complete race distance at good pace this year that anything increasing drag carries a larger penalty than years past.
        Force India seem to have taken the opposite tack and going for minimum drag. Not surprising as they’ve done this in the past but this year it may have more merit than in the past.

    2. If it causes both drag and downforce, and decide that the drag is detrimental, then they can trim the wings a bit. They wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t think the benefits outweigh the drag costs.

      1. Yes, but teams have tried many things they thought might be worth it in the past which didn’t pan out. I’m simply postulating that this will be one of those instances. My opinion, obviously, but I think there are sound reasons to believe so and I’m willing to go out on a limb here and will own up to it if I’m wrong later.
        Of course, last time I was wrong was 1992? No, 93! Or something like that…I’m sure I’ve been wrong at least once :-)

        1. @daved

          Make no mistake, even if they end up ditching it, it’s little more than wild guessing from your part, not “solid reasons”.

          Fluid dynamics is an ridiculously complex subject, it takes years of experience, a lot experimentation and simulation to judge the value of a part. Nothing of which any of us have had any access to.

          So no, there aren’t “solid reasons” at this point for anything you said, just wild guessing. Even if the wild guess happen to become true, it doesn’t make it any less of a wild guess, no the result of solid reasons.

          1. LOL Thanks for the lecture. But you don’t know anything about me. True, I don’t have access to any data, but I started my career doing some hull design on boats using “a little fluid dynamics”. I’ve also done things liked worked with Jeff Seymour as he optimizes the burn chamber in Microturbines so I’m quite aware of the complexity of these things.

            After a few decades of doing stuff like this you get good at eyeballing something and being able to take an educated guess at it. More importantly, some of the other team’s engineers have expressed these same sentiments so possibly I do have a reason to question it.

          2. @daved

            That’s pretty cool (no sarcasm intended).

            But still is far from solid reasons :-)

    3. I would guess that suspension to be a positive mainly for the slower tracks, although they might have different profiles with less drag for tracks like Monza.

    4. I read somewhere that on the straights when the car goes fast and is pushed down by the downforce a gap between the wishbones opens that would reduce the drag and slowing down for the corner the car rides higher and the gap closes to increase the downforce.

  2. Well, I have an honours degree in BS and I proclaim McLaren’s innovative suspension to be great or not as the case may be IMNSHO. If it turns out not to be great/or not, I will of course ‘fess up and apologise that I got it both right & wrong.

    1. “right &/or wrong”

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