Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Fault ends McLaren’s fifth test day after 21 laps

2015 F1 season

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuito de Jerez, 2015McLaren’s participation in the fifth day of F1 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya came to an end within four hours due to a technical problem.

A faulty seal on the Honda power unit’s MGU-K curtailed Jenson Button’s running after just 21 laps. McLaren said the fault “requires the full replacement of the power unit”.

However the team can draw some consolation from the improved pace the car showed while it was running, which was closer to that of their rivals than it was at Jerez two weeks ago.

“Such issues are all part of testing,” McLaren added, “and we will plan for a productive day of running with Fernando Alonso behind the wheel tomorrow.”

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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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30 comments on “Fault ends McLaren’s fifth test day after 21 laps”

  1. Mashiat Lam Gofran
    19th February 2015, 12:28

    Oh dear. Things are really falling apart for McLaren and Honda aren’t they? And to think that they will only get another maximum 20 or so laps tomorrow as a result will definitely not help matters at all. As a McLaren-Honda fan, it’s quite painful to read every single article as every articles pretty much says “McLaren-Honda in trouble” or “McLaren-Honda running has come to an end due to problems” etc. And considering that they probably designed every part of the PU to get the best performance, there is no guarentee that a hastily redesigned MGU-K will do the job as well. Anyways, finger crossed.

    P.S. Did anyone else have to do a double take when they saw the picture? I was sure it was a MP4-20!

    1. “Things are really falling apart” – I’m not supporting McLaren team in any way but I have to disagree with you for the sake of objectivity. Their lap times today were competetive indeed. Obviously, the car is quick. Reliability is not where it should be but they’ll be atop of it sooner or later.

    2. Just look at Redbull/Renault during testing last year?! This is the point of testing – yes it’s not ideal, but every issue they find now is one less failure during a race.

      How far did Hamilton get through the Australian GP last year?

      1. @Sam Andrews

        People compare McLaren Honda to RedBull Renault last year way too much. They aren’t comparable. For the past 6 years McLaren (bar 2012) has not been nowhere on the same level as Red Bull. And Honda was kinda a disaster as a team.

        That doesn’t mean they won’t fix these issues, of course not. But the comparison is silly.

    3. Relax, man, this is just testing. Sure, not running is a problem, but it’s not the end of the world. I’d be harder if it happened during the races.

      It’s a brand new engine, and just like last year with Renault and the others, things start slowly, then pick up.

  2. It’s pretty bad news for McLaren, given how little running they’ve had so far. The pace of the car was pretty representative when it was running, which should be encouraging, especially since they are still running a beta spec engine rather than the final race version. There’s probably a lot that they can do to try and maximise the running tomorrow – turn back the engine power, limit themselves to shorter runs, inspect the parts regularly, etc etc. Inevitably a failure of a seal causes a lot more work than simply replacing the seal, so they may be able to avoid a complete failure if they keep a close eye on it through the day. Or they may just send it out as-is and try to get as much done as possible before it fails again.

    Still though, they would have wanted to be putting serious mileage on the car in this test so to be thwarted by a seal failure is going to be extremely frustrating.

  3. I continue to remain optimistic for them. This is such early days. There is no rule that says they have to be challenging the Mercs in race one. This is a process and they’ve only just begun. Red Bull could barely pile on the kms a year ago at this time, and they weren’t dealing with a new marriage. Are they frustrated? I’m sure. But are they looking at each other in dismay saying thngs are falling apart? I think the opposite really. Things are coming together as they find their issues, resolve them, and move on. I highly doubt they themselves were fully expecting perfection out of the box. Teething issues for their particular scenario should be considered normal for this complex formula.

    1. Yep completely agree, that’s a very reasoned comment on their situation. I think we saw in the past how McLaren can bounce back from a poor pre-season quickly. I think in recent times it was the 2011 testing where the car looked to be in shambles but come Melbourne they were ahead of Ferrari who many expected to be fighting the Red Bulls, and were the second best car throughout that season. A similar situation could happen here where McLaren surprise everyone come Melbourne.

      1. Yes! Look at the back end of the car, can’t wait to see what this thing can (or can’t) do – either way, it will be a less boring season (knocks on all the wood).

    2. Yeah I don’t think there’s any need for panic stations just yet. The frist objective for pre-season testing is to ensure that you get the car to a point where it can complete a race distance without breaking down. McLaren are working their way through this, and the main thing is that when they find issues, they are fixing them. Most of the performance of the car is buit into it at the design stage anyway, and beyond that it’s simply correlation work to ensure that the car reacts to setup and condition changes in line with the data from the simulator, so that they can rely on that for most of their setup work. Obviously if you can get the car to that position early on in testing (or immediately out of the box in some cases) then that’s a bonus as you can then use the rest of the time fine tuning the car. But that primary objective is the main one, as it will enable them to use free practice to add performance to the car.

      Obviously though, each time a fault is found, it’s currently costing them a significant chunk of their testing time which means less time for finding new faults. Ideally they’ll want to complete at least one race distance this weekend once the new seal is in place, but even if they don’t achieve that, it won’t be a complete loss as long as they can use the remainder of the test to identify other issues.

      If they’ve still not completed a good race simulation by the end of the third test, then it’s time to start worrying.

    3. and to add honda are coming back to f1 after 6 year break unlike others.

    4. +1 tell me about it. I’m fairly optimistic they’ll challenge for podiums during the season

  4. Oh Fernando… regretting it? :)
    Better being in a red car these days, isn’t it!!? Too late. Good luck

    1. Maybe but I wouldn’t get too happy from Ferrari’s performance so far considering it’s only testing. McLaren were quick last year in testing and we saw how that turned out…….

    2. Did Alonso stole your girlfriend or something like that?

      1. You mean “did Alonso STEAL your girlfriend”
        No he couldn’t. People I care for are LOYAL.

        1. Nice one dude, that was epic comeback!

    3. only thing he regrets is wasting 5 years in that ferrari pos ;)

    4. The only way Fernando is gonna regret leaving Ferrari would be if the red car turns out to be a close match for the silver arrows… The chances of that are highly unlikely considering the relative stability in the tech regulations and the fact that they were so much behind merc last season…

    5. He is not the kind of guy that regret things. If anything, setbacks probably make him more determined and focused. Just look at his results for the past five years, when he was driving the busses that FIAT designed year after year…after year.

      1. setbacks probably make him more determined and focused

        Yes, I particularly remember that in 2007…. :D

  5. Last year I thought Red Bull would be seconds off the pace and the car would brake within 10 laps, then Ricciardo ended up on the podium.

  6. Well the problem with the Mclaren is obvious to me!!

    I do not see why Mclaren cannot see it….they forgot to but the back end of the ca…..wait a minute….

  7. This is normal engine development, in engineering when developing a new system or product there’s always that phase of problem solving (murphy’s law always gets you) it just so happens that Honda’s progress, or lack of, is out there for the public to see.
    I’m pretty sure Mercedes had the same issues last year but because they started earlier relative to everyone else they saw them at the dyno, not at the track.

  8. Don’t they run the cars on the dyno for a million hours? How come these faults show up on the track? Or is there a rule that you can not do that?

    1. Testing on a dyno & Testing on track are 2 completely different things.

      Dyno testing is done under ideal conditions, A sealed room with plenty of ventilation & no G-force or vibration.
      When you put the engine in the back of the car & run it under real world conditions you start to find these little problems which don’t show up during dyno running because its not been stressed the way it is on track.

      Audi used to love racing in the 12 hours of Sebring as preparation for Le Mans because that track is so bumpy & so demanding on the cars that they said it showed up any & every weakness on the car better than any other sort of testing or development they could do. While there not able to run the Sebring 12hrs anymore (LMP1 cars are not part of the USCC series now) they still do a lot of testing at Sebring.

  9. philipo nuttalli
    19th February 2015, 17:16

    I think that many people are to eager to remark,the purpose of testing is to test and all the teams have their own way and process of doing this,after watching this last year i learnt many things but the most important part was pace, pace is harder to find than reliability? it is also the job of testing and the driver to break the car now not in the first race,in the race you can run many different settings and strategies to improve reliability and longevity,but the main thing is pace,aerodynamics,this plays into pace against tyre degradation,testing is testing and race pace and reliability is a whole different ball game,given the development that mclaren had to do to catch the others,i think its looking better than last years testing.

  10. Scientific approach Honda has used. Hmm.

  11. No, Mr PR man, a faulty seal is not all part of testing, it’s part of poor quality control.

    Your engine overheating after 40 laps due to aero problems is part of testing. But you wouldn’t know that yet, would you?

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