Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Vandoorne: Not clear if today’s failure is linked to Alonso’s

2017 F1 season

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Stoffel Vandoorne says it isn’t clear yet whether the power unit problem which stopped his running today is related to his team mate’s yesterday.

For the second day running McLaren had to change the power unit in one of their cars. Fernando Alonso was limited to 29 laps by an oil system fault yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
F1 testing day two in pictures
Vandoorne, who covered 40 laps today, told media at the Circuit de Catalunya the team “don’t know what the exact problem was”.

“We lost some power during the morning and we decided to change the engine,” he explained. “I think tonight Honda will analyse what went wrong and they will probably give an answer about it.”

Vandoorne, who will start his first full season in Australia next month, said his initial impressions of the car had been favourable.

“It was positive to get back behind the wheel after four months’ no driving,” he said. “It was a good first feeling for me, immediately I felt confident in the car and very comfortable. So I think that’s a first very positive sign when you jump into a car, new regulations, and you feel very confident.”

“It’s a good start, unfortunately we had a loss of engine power during the morning after a couple of laps. It’s a shame we couldn’t do more laps, obviously we would have hoped to put in more laps which we didn’t achieve today.”

With the final day of this week’s test due to be used for wet weather running, Vandoorne says McLaren have not yet discussed whether to make any changes in their run plan.

“The last two days were difficult for us but hopefully overnight we can analyse what went wrong and come up with a reliable car tomorrow,” he said.

“This is my first day of testing, Fernando didn’t get many laps yesterday, tomorrow and the day after are going to be important days for us. We’re going to try to make the most of every situation.”

“Every lap I get on track I try to make the most of it, try to give as much feedback as possible, and for myself as well try to make the most of it. It’s going to be my first season in Formula One so every lap I can get I need.”

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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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  • 25 comments on “Vandoorne: Not clear if today’s failure is linked to Alonso’s”

    1. So, carrots don’t drive well, huh?

    2. I fear that we’ve seen this pattern before. Get well soon, Honda-McLaren.

      I remember when McLaren were testing that octopus exhaust. It ruined their preseason testing. They had a shocker. But, at the last minute, they reverted to a more traditional exhaust type and they were impressively competitive immediately.

      Those days seem ever so long ago…

    3. There we go. While Mercedes and Ferrari use the time for clocking in laptimes, trading fastest laps…. McLaren is stuck changing the engine yet again… Don’t they run chassis rigs? Don’t they test engines before flying them to Barcelona? How can same thing happen to same people two years in a row.

      1. 3 tears in a row.

        1. I suspect a few more tears than 3.

          1. @markp @drycrust that’s the spirit boys! Levity in the face of catastrophy!

            Laughed like crazy

      1. It’s like a horse with horns.

    4. I’m afraid that I’m now starting to understand why McLaren decided to go for a Marussia-like livery :(

      1. Omg sad but funny

          1. +2

            COTD

    5. My favourite post on Autosport’s live feed was McLaren explaining that Vandoorne had “encountered some set-up niggles after the second installation lap”.

      You’re 2 days too late for the Oscars, guys!!

    6. My two favourite drivers are stuck in a car with a failing engine, that’s quite depressing!
      I still hope Honda will get it right, somehow.

    7. Oh my God! How can this still be happening? Why does Honda stick to a single team policy? They are in desperate need of some milage on that engine. Not just this year. But ever since they’ve been back in F1.

      I think if you add up all the millage of Honda engines since 2015, they are still way below that of Mercedes or Ferrari in a single season.

      As for Mclaren, why do they stick to that extreme aero, even in testing. Tie that engine to an old VW beattle for crying out loud and stick some bulldozer radiators on there. They are working on marginal aerodynamic gains fit for a car that had exhausted all other areas of development.

      With such limited testing, both in this and previous years, how can they even be sure their complicated aero parts are working. The running of Ferrari and Mercedes show the nuanced changes that are needed between multiple runs just to test the correlation between their wind tunnel and software, let alone the to set up the car.

      I really hope they can turn this around. But realistically it is virtually impossible for them to do so.

      1. It’s actually McLaren who contractually forced Honda to be only supplying to them so that they could focus fully on McLaren as the works team. Now there’s litterally no team that want’s to a Honda customer team. http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a29870/honda-f1-engine-no-partner/

      2. If they supplied a second team with their engines, it wouldn’t help much as the other team would have the same issues.
        And besides, why would any team want Honda when Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari can provide B spec engines that are faster and more reliable?
        Honda is in dire straits and would probably like to walk away as bad as Alonso does.
        Since this season evidently will be a repeat of 2015, the most intriguing question is how long Alonso will last.
        Yes, he would be throwing a lot of money away but though I think he has held up relatively well over the last 2 tortuous seasons, there has to be a breaking point.
        If tomorrow and Friday are a repeat of the first two days and next week is no better, I’m betting he hands the keys over to Jensen and rides off into the sunset.
        And who can blame him other than his detractors?

    8. “unfortunately we had a loss of engine power during the morning after a couple of laps. It’s a shame we couldn’t do more laps,”

      but hang on, it says he did 40 laps today… who’s right here?

    9. Oh shoot it’s 2014 all over again… Lol!

    10. Hope they can fix their problems soon
      because I love the McLaren plain Sharp Orange and black livery
      also the renault`s yellow and black.
      it`s the two best looking cars.
      hope they can both Challenge for podiums
      that would be great.

      1. Renault and McLaren are both at the back of the midfield but both have the potential to outdevelop the other midfield teams ie Williams, FI, Haas and STR.

        Having said that, Renault has one major advantage over McLaren: their engine isn’t a Honda.

    11. This is starting to remind me of Richard Jenni’s bit about Jaws 4: The Revenge. “You just keep thinking it has to get better, but it just never does.”

    12. If it iz not gooda for a-racing, iz the car at least gooda for picking up girls or a-driving to the café? It iz obviously not gooda for shopping. Alonso must be going crazy…

    13. It doesn’t worry me that the Mclaren engine is not working on Day 1 or Day 2. It also doesn’t worry me that they are down on power to their rivals, as it was expected that they would trail other manufacturers this year. If anyone has seen F1 over the past 2 decades, they will by now expect Honda and failure to go hand in hand. So a lot of what has happened over the past 2 days was entirely possible.

      What worries me is that Mr.Hasegawa, who leads the entire Honda project, suspects that it “might be the shape of the oil tank” and they still don’t have a clue about what caused the loss of power on Vandoorne’s car today.

      How are you going to fix your problems if you still haven’t figured out the problems? The clock is ticking for Melbourne, and there just isn’t enough time for Honda to figure out the problem, make fundamental changes to the PU and test it on track before Melbourne arrives. They’ve had 2 entire seasons of ‘testing’ already… looks like they’re in for a 3rd.

      Very amateurish display from Honda on all fronts.

    14. I’m more hopeful of a turnaround this season than we’ve seen in ’15 & ’16. When they came in for 2015 with a nearly frozen spec with a token system preventing an entirely clean sheet design, they were stuck trying to get a fundamentally flawed design to the end of races let alone find performance from it.

      From the reports, they’ve effectively designed a new power unit and in a very short space of time, so it doesn’t surprise me the similar teething problems to 2015. The difference this year is they can fix the issues they find in the design.

      I think we’ve got another season of not even a podium, and honestly, I’m not expecting competitiveness until 2019 if they carry on. I think the real clue they are about to get on top of their problems will be Alonso leaving, that’s usually a good sign.

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