Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Vandoorne explains exhaust problem which halted McLaren

2018 F1 season

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Stoffel Vandoorne managed only 37 laps on the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya as McLaren had to conduct precautionary checks of their car after a problem with their exhaust.

“Unfortunately we had this small issue with the exhaust clip just after lunch,” said Vandoorne. The fault “detached the exhaust and blew a lot of hot air on some of the wiring looms,” he explained.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
2018 F1 pre-season testing day two in pictures
“One of the looms was the brake wire as well so the team took a precautionary check which meant things took a bit longer than expected.

Vandoorne said the setback was “not a big problem” and the team had “a positive day with a lot of things learned.”

“Obviously [it was] very nice to get back in the car after the winter,” he said. “It felt like I hadn’t left the cockpit which was positive.”

“Mainly what held us back this morning was the weather conditions, obviously very cold and damp circuit. So that took a while to get the running started for everyone. We took the opportunity to do some rake work, gather some aero data during this time.”

“After that the track got in a reasonable condition, managed to do a few proper runs and try to understand a nit more the car we’ve got this year. The first impressions were very positive. It felt very comfortable, no surprises, some good learning done.”

Vandoorne said his initial impression of the Renault power unit was “very positive.”

“There is no big things to say, really, everything feels nice. Drive-ability feels very good. Every settings we change are working as expected. So far there’s nothing much to tell.”

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Author information

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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48 comments on “Vandoorne explains exhaust problem which halted McLaren”

  1. Daniel (@bringmontjuicback)
    27th February 2018, 19:25

    Now it’s definitely not a good start…

  2. McLaren needs to get it together. No Honda to blame now…

    1. but they have Alonso

        1. If Honda camr good this year then deifinitely Alonso is partly to blame for all his comments about Honda.

      1. McLaren will be fine.
        Let the bashers have their day.
        All the Honda praises after 2 days of testing – so silly.
        Obviously, since they are starting from ground zero, it will take McLaren time to hit the benchmark but they will get there soon.
        The days of empty promises of more power and reliability are over.
        They have a powerful and reliable engine, arguably the best driver on the planet and a future WDC.
        The 3 years of agony are over. The future is bright:)

        1. The future is papaya orange 😉

  3. Wow, I cannot get across how tedious all the McLaren bashing is becoming. It’s a new engine partner so of course they will have teething problems.

    1. @homerlovesbeer – The strange thing is that Toro Rosso, a much smaller and less competitive team than McLaren (on paper), managed to get a clean start with their new partner. For now, it looks like McLaren are failing again as they have covered the least mileage during the first two days, whilst STR with Honda was able to match Ferrari and Mercedes.

      1. The same Honda engine McLaren could not work with. In 2014 they had the best engine and they were rubbish…..Wrong fuel, Merc did not give the settings…..Honda, rubbish McLaren had the best chassis as it had a faster apex speed than everyone for 1 meter of 1 corner at 1 circuit for 1 lap in the whole year and now they cannot run the Renault properly but Torro Rosso can run the Honda. Surely they will sort it out and at least be the 4th best team this year, anything less will be a disaster.

        1. The issues they have have had are the sort you expect to see in testing. Ferrari have had issues, red bull have had issues. I think I would want my team to take time out if the brakes were in danger of not working… The engine seems fine. STR seem to be doing a lot of miles, but they are not setting the time sheets alive… So it is difficult to know just where Honda are. It looks like they have sorted the most serious reliability issues but as they do not seem to be running at full power then we will not know how good the engine actually is. It may well be that Honda have learned that doing miles is more important than going fast and so have significantly turned the engine down to make sure it does not blow up.

    2. @homerlovesbeer No. Absolutely not. Lame excuses! See Toro Rosso. See Brawn just bolting on a merc engine on a Honda chassis. Mclaren is doing a poor job and they are doing it consistently for years now. Well there is nothing wrong with being bad at what you do. However, being completely deluisonal about your own performance and acting like a big shot is what is getting Mclaren all this hate.

    3. “It’s a new engine partner so of course they will have teething problems.”… I guess Toro Rosso didn’t know that they should have a teething problems… oh maybe tom they will get that memo…

      1. Do you people not understand that there is a very good chance that over the season of races we are about to experience, McLaren and Renault will best STR Honda? Or are you going to argue that the majority of people, upon hearing the news of Mac switching to Renault and Honda going to STR automatically assumed STR would now be the better team?

        If so much weight can be put to these first few days wrt Mac and STR, please guys enlighten us as to the other locked in results that are so obvious for the season from these last two crappy test days. SV will now dominate since he is tops on the time sheets? Bottas will dominate LH? After all, they are obviously favouring VB, no? Wouldn’t even change the car to accommodate LH. And LH thinks he’s about to get a contract extension? Looks like not.

        Right? Right? Must be, because after all, we already know everything we need to know about Mac and STR.

        1. @robbie

          I agree that McLaren will probably smash Toro Rosso once the season gets started, but that’s not Mclaren’s target is it? They wanted to fight with the front runners, and by that expectation, they have already started falling short.

          I know it’s just testing, but that doesn’t mean you cannot judge a team’s preparation and efficiency. Even the back markers have not had wheels fall off and exhausts failures that melt wiring. It’s an amateurish display from McLaren so far.

          1. @todfod Never suggested STR was the target whatsoever, just answering to the comparison between the two teams that is being made. All the teams are the target, and it is a constant work in progress. If all that happens to them is a funky wheel nut and an exhaust clip failing, then I would say they have done far from an amateur job. Things can go far far worse in initial testing, and be a million times more dire, as in millions down the drain, if we’re going to talk indications of how a season is going to go for a team, ala McHonda. They’re probably partying it up already with how far they are ahead of the last 3 pre-seasons.

            Not only were their issues extremely minor, this happened on days that the teams had all talked of scrapping, and certainly agreed unilaterally that their take, in terms of useable data, had been greatly restricted. Perhaps Mac didn’t feel huge urgency to get back out there.

          2. if we’re going to talk indications of how a season is going to go for a team, ala McHonda. They’re probably partying it up already with how far they are ahead of the last 3 pre-seasons.

            That’s exactly what my problem is. They feel they’ve accomplished something massive by just dumping Honda and colouring their car orange.

            If all that happens to them is a funky wheel nut and an exhaust clip failing

            Man… I don’t know how you can just dismiss these issues as minor. They might seem small but are a part of a bigger QA issue they have in their team. It was these “minor issues” that cost them the title in 2012. At the 25% mark of preseason testing, they’re at the bottom of the lap count sheet again, maybe that’s a “minor issue” as well.

            Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly support them, and would want them to do better than any other team this season, but to say that I’m not disappointed with the way they’ve started this season is a lie. It’s definitely not a good start, but at the same time I have faith they can turn it around. Maybe I expect more from them and I’ve set the bar higher that you have.

          3. @todfod “They feel they’ve accomplished something massive just by dumping Honda and colouring their car orange.”


            There’s no way you can claim to support them and want them to do better and yet project garbage like this on them.

          4. @robbie

            Sure. Being critical of the team you support, when they’re messing up, is blasphemy. Right?

            Guessing you support them with eternal, maternal love and praises. Sure Mclaren can never do anything wrong in your books, and every mistake is just a “minor issue”

          5. @todfod There is no reason to think they are messing up and you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

          6. @robbie

            There’s absolutely no reason to think they’re doing a great job either. As I said, everyone has their own expectations of McLaren. I guess your expectations are being met. Mine are not.

          7. @todfod Yeah I really just go by how the teams stand once they are actually racing in anger. I don’t set some bar for teams at which point I get all bent out of shape over a couple of initial testing days. It’s testing and is the time for them to suss out issues. You want to equate their major, depressing, and dire issues over the last 3 seasons with a wheel nut and an exhaust clip, so you have put that bar on yourself that you now have to live (read stress) with, I guess.

            We will all know how the teams and drivers are doing once they are actually in an apples to apples setting which will not happen until the first race’s qualifying session. I expect Mercedes and Ferrari and RBR to be strong again, but beyond that remains to be seen including where those top 3 teams will stand amongst each other, but there’s nothing I can do to affect that and so I don’t set bars nor expectations that from my armchair mean nothing.

            The proof will be in the pudding, and that only starts on the first race weekend when things will actually be tested to some limits. And even then, as we know, if a team dominates the first race, they may not dominate the second one. It may depend on the track. And we’ll see over some races who is more reliable, or which driver seems to like the new car or the tires better. I just take it as it comes rather than trying to divine what the season will bring and then get all upset that my imagination steered me wrong.

          8. @robbie

            Glad that you’ll judge them by their race performances. I do that too… But I also judge them by diligence and efficiency.

    4. @homerlovesbeer

      To be honest, I supported them for dumping Honda and switching to Renault. It was definitely the right decision. But I’m massively disappointed with their issues so far. None of them have been engine related, or even ‘teething problems’ related to a new engine supplier. It just seems like carelessness on their part and goof ups on the McLaren’s engineering side.

      It’s sad because I think they did a good job when they were stuck with Honda, although the results didn’t really come. Now they’ve gotten a chance to redeem themselves and they drop the ball two days in a row.

      What’s even more annoying is that they keep calling them ‘small problem’ and ‘not a big deal’. It is a problem when you’ve covered less than half the mileage you intended to cover in the first two days of testing. It is imperative to get all the running they can with the Renault PU before the season starts… yet they seem to be maintain a callous attitude.

      1. @todfod See my response above but also, say what? Massively disappointed? Callous attitude? How could you possibly….ah, never mind.

      2. @todfod – Sainz told that they couldn’t test anything yesterday. And Renault covered race distance that day. It really seems that there’s no real point in driving the car when the track is so cold. Maybe, McLaren didn’t really lost the time because there was nothing to lose.

        1. I agree about the track conditions, and McLaren have gotten lucky with that. It still doesn’t justify their slip ups.

  4. I’m’ sure they’ll get it together. Or at least that they have a better season ahead of them compared to the last few.

  5. Doesn’t look like a bright start, no matter what they say. To start with so many problems is hard from ideal… They are lucky it’s too cold out here to be a properly relevant test.

    1. So many problems? They have had two issues! One was a broken wheel nut (we have seen that before from other teams too) and the other is a loose bracket… Not exactly show stopping issues!

      Red bull had a fuel leak which kept them out for half a day.

  6. It appears Renault are being praised for the comfort and driveability of the car.

    1. Anything is an upgrade from Honda

  7. Stoffel the chassis is probably last years, so no surprise it feels like the same car. Honda did fail McLaren often but McLaren is well known for random glitches, perhaps as a consequence of pushing the boundaries.

  8. I’m definitely expecting a better season for Mclaren, but after all the chest beating, the last couple days have been disappointing.

    1. McLaren wanted to feed some trolls. They are happy now.

  9. By the comments here I have the impression that things are worse than it really is. I’m think besides these two problems, they are looking more solid than I expected so far. I’m sure they’ll have much more running time this year. Maybe this reaction is stronger because Toro Rosso testing is being hugely impressive. But some of the comments look a bit too harsh to me.

    1. I agree. Neither of the issues over the two days have been big things, A bad wheel hub and a broken exhaust. Last year they were dealing with an engine starving itself of oil and trying to shake itself to pieces. I think McLaren will be very happy to be having these issues rather than last years!

      As for Toro Rosso, so far they’ve only been impressive in as much that they’ve been reliable, but McLaren have been faster both days (not that times mean anything at this stage), what is telling however is that McLaren, Renault and Red Bull have all been in the ballpark performance wise, yet those track side are saying the Honda is noticeably still slower and still sounding awful.

      I honestly don’t think McLaren will give 2 hoots about Toro Rosso not having an engine going pop (yet), seeing as the main issue was the fact it was also dog slow. If it had been a Japanese Bullet but prone to popping, they’d probably have stuck with it and hope reliability would come/could be worked on. Reliability doesn’t count for anything if the engine was still 6 tenths a lap off the pace. Even if they have a few more failures this season than Honda, as long as they are competitive chassis and engine wise (and they will be as long as all Renault engines are equal), then they’ll be pleased with the decision (Even if Honda somehow get up to Renault power pace, it’s just not a risk of another wasted year McLaren could take).

      1. Too many conclusion, so little time…

        TR is about the same top speed as RBR… RBR is gaining in the corners as you should expect from a Newey design car. The sound of Honda is not bad, it is just that way it is made, as Ferrari, Merc and Renault sound different from each other. And Mclaren is expected to be faster of course, given the size of that team and the people behind it but both day thay are fast for using a faster tire that they are the only ones who have tried, Supersoft for Alonso, Hypersoft for Stoffel.

        And the two “minor” failures, the wheel nut and clip… isn’t that a bit frustrating for a team that talked nonstop throughout winter of how good this year will be?

        And the fact is, to compare Mclaren to TR is kinda BS dont you think? a team like Mclaren comparing to a RedBull B team… Should’nt the comparison be with RBR given thay are both A teams and same engine? Oh I know because if you compare them to RBR this point in time, they would be even more humiliated.

        1. No, for 2 reasons.

          1. Toro Rosso are the early direct comparison, given McLaren and them have effectively swapped engines, there’s a direct correlation as to how far McLaren potentially move up compared to how far Toro Rosso may potentially go backwards (if indeed that happens). I.e, If McLaren are suddenly up around or ahead of Force India and Renault whilst Toro Rosso are suddenly fighting with or Behind Sauber, then it’s clear where the engine pecking order genuinely is.

          Being the only runner of Honda the past few years, McLaren never had a true benchmark. Now they do with 2 other Renault powered teams. When it comes to outright performance down the line, Red Bull will then be the benchmark, not just for McLaren, but for the Renault works team too. No matter how good or bad the Renault engine is or how good or bad Honda is, McLaren now have parity at least with somebody, a guarantee their engine is at least on a level with other teams. After years of not having that security and promises that never came from Sakura, that must be a relief.

          2. You don’t just bolt and engine in a car and fly. Red Bull have 10 years of experience with Renault and have effectively been refining a concept around Renault hybrid architecture since 2014. Yes, Red Bull will be the performance benchmark over the season, but it’s wrong to expect McLaren will be ahead of them, in fact if they are near them, they’ll have done a good job. Likewise if Toro Rosso are roughly where they were last season, they’ll have done a great job.

          The engine sounds, btw, are “not designed to be like that”. Honda have similar architecture to Mercedes, if an engine such as this is popping, banging and grumbling off throttle it’s inefficient. Inefficieny means less power and thirstier = more weight to carry as car needs more fuel or driver needs to do more fuel saving….or both = slower car performance wise and needing fuel saving = Very slow car.

    2. I believe the comments are justified because Mclaren themselves is nonstop throughout winter in talking about their progress, better partnership with Renault, making all the deadlines, how good times are coming. So in effect they put a lot of pressure on themselves and put high expectations on them. So a wheel nut failure or an exhaust clip may be minor, but a team like Mclaren shouldn’t be having these problems. And to put that in contrast, Toro Rosso had the equal amount of job to do in thr winter, new engine, new design… they even run a shakedown a week earlier than Mclaren, and that is on schedule and no delays. A job well done for a Redbull B team with a considerably lower budget and smaller team compared to Mclaren.

      I know its too early to even have conclusion, but if TR did well this year and Honda had a lot less failure, you have to wonder if Mclaren really did push Honda to design an engine that is really not usable in competion… the size zero, and force Honda to package the engine in the specs that Mclaren gave them to fit in their chassis and aero package without having an input from Honda

  10. The boundarirs of talking too much and abject failure.

  11. Who is one of Ferrari’s major competitors when it comes to car sales? McLaren. So that explains the McLaren bashing in my humble opinion – and it is on going. Nasty stuff. I know which brand I would have without question. Every time I see a Ferrari I think of fascism and it appears fascism is back in vogue. Now that could be perceived as Ferrari bashing and yes perhaps it is but I take no pleasure in stating my feelings. None what so ever. It is nasty and ugly as. Just like fascism. Taking pleasure in putting others down and seeing them fail just states that the perpetrator of said practice is nasty and some what narcissistic. Like pointing out that some one needs to work on their tan – “hee hee” (Ricciardo :-)). It is just a put down and shows ones character to be lacking and is just a tool of psychological warfare. If one has to indulge in said practice it shows weakness on their behalf. Now don’t get me wrong – I do not accuse Ferrari directly of instigating this bashing in part or as a whole. But honestly it would not surprise me if they were happy that it was on going. Any McLaren bashing may assist them with their own car sales. I am sure I will cop some flack for my comments. Bring it on. If it brings on a reduction in nasty bashing like McLaren have been coping or any other people as individuals then it is worth it. I can not stand ugly bullies. Never have.

    1. If McLaren did not talk so much would false promises they would not attract as much criticism.

      Ferrari fascist….I can’t wait for your opinion on Mercedes or perhaps you have a slant on the British teams and colonialism?

    2. @stash

      Who is one of Ferrari’s major competitors when it comes to car sales? McLaren

      Errr….no! McLaren is no-where near Ferrari in global car sales! In fact Ferrari recently scaled back the number of cars it produces a year as they felt that too many were being sold which devalued their brand.

      The rest of your post is just utter garbage and quite offensive.

      1. “Errr….no! McLaren is no-where near Ferrari in global car sales!”

        At no stage did I say they were any where near Ferrari in car sales. But to right off the fact that they are a major competitor of Ferrari shows you are in complete denial of the absolute obvious.

        “The rest of your post is just utter garbage and quite offensive.”

        Can you not be more specific? It appears I struck a nerve. To write someones comments off in totality with out showing any justification for it is weak as. Not nice is it when someone gets nasty is it? Not nice being the brunt of a joke or a point is it? Not nice being picked on is it? Do you guys go fishing? The sound of the reel is quite beautiful. My point has been made. Some times you need to read between the lines and look at what someones agenda is. I have achieved what I set out to do. To all the good hard working people at Ferrari I will now retract my fascism comment. Germany, England and Italy have been involved in atrocities at some stage in their history. Even us here in the land of Australia have shame to deal with. Not very nice now was it? Maybe some of your fans need to pull their head in?

  12. There is a very good reason why I rarely read, let alone participate in the comments and discussions on these and other forums…. and many of those above are classic examples of such!

  13. We can’t draw nice line for just 3days test on bad condition

    If you could @Keith, after the test .. you can write about each team performance with grafik or table each stint and average lap time dor each stint. Maybe we can se little bit nice line where the team placed up .. we can see reliability and speed for each team and driver

    Then we can discuss and comment base on data

  14. Guys you have to admit that yes Mclaren have put themselves on to higher pressure than before by simply robbing the headlines in preseason so far, with how good it will be and such, but having completed half the mileage of most of the top teams lets say at least ferrari and mercs which we expect mclaren to fight with since now they are renault powered, but these random amateurish things happening shouldn t be happening, at least by now they should have done mileage close to to mercs and ferrari, i really don t like these careless if i can express it this way, the carelessness, let s point it out, they should be much more careful and do a better job, we haven t seen them in medium compound, it doesn t look promising….

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