Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

‘Stupid £2 bolt’ blamed for McLaren’s Tuesday test delay

2018 F1 season

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The exhaust problem on Stoffel Vandoorne’s car which robbed McLaren of vital testing mileage on Tuesday was caused by £2 bolt according to racing director Eric Boullier.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
2018 F1 testing day four in pictures
“It’s a stupid bolt which broke in the exhaust,” he explained during the final day of the first test. “It’s a £2 problem which cost us a lot of track time.”

“Everything was burned after in the back of the car so we had to rebuild the back of the car. It didn’t cost us much to revise the design, it’s more about the track time lost. As you can see the design is still the same and the car is still running.”

The fault restricted Vandoorne to just 37 laps on the second day of the test. It came after a wheel nut problem sent Fernando Alonso off the track early in the first day’s running. Boullier said the nut hadn’t been tightened sufficiently.

“Obviously we investigated more and we are going to have some preventive… like a plan to do some modifications to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The wheel parted company with the car which has raised safety concerns. “There is now a discussion between us and the FIA to understand what happened,” said Boullier, “because the wheel that got stuck, the wheel as well and it broke the hub if you want and that’s why we lost the wheel.”

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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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  • 34 comments on “‘Stupid £2 bolt’ blamed for McLaren’s Tuesday test delay”

    1. So silly, but hey, at least it wasn’t a major issue. Hoping for a real good season for them. A happy Alonso is an even faster Alonso.

      1. digitalrurouni
        1st March 2018, 17:02

        Agreed. A happy Alonso is almost worth a second’s worth of lap time if you ask me!!

      2. Yeah, but it’s this kind of carelessness that robbed Hamilton of a potential title in 2012, and just shouldn’t happen at this level of motorsports.

        1. in an industry of one off designs it is inevitable.

          these are all prototypes. It isn’t like the days when they did 50 days of testing before a season, nowadays they do 8… cut them some slack.

          1. Pretty sure ‘one off’ or ‘prototype’ bolts don’t come at two Bucks a piece

            1. ha, ok but I do we know what happened yet with this bolt? It could have been that the bolt vibrated off as a result of some other failure or fault somewhere nearby.

              There aint much that can go wrong with a bolt, it being a single piece of metal with no moving parts.

            2. Matt, what can go wrong is quite a lot when you are trying to reduce weight in every component.

            3. GP2 bolt, GP2 aaarrrrrrggghhhh

            4. @mrboerns gets it!

              I would imagine any bolt that costs £2 is for testing only? Ie get the kinks worked out, the replace it with a gun drilled inconel one at a third of the weight?

          2. a mistake here and there is one thing, but McLaren do seem to make a lot of them and Honda aside, it’s been going on for a while.

    2. Yeah, blame it on the intelligence of the bolt…

      1. An inanimate carbon rod

      2. Ahaha, indeed, silly bolt which broke!

    3. Not Mac’s fault, never Mac’s fault always some stupid someone else or something else.

      1. Agreed, it was the bolt’s fault and not that of the person who was supposed to read the thermal specs for the enigne’s turbos, which were what were overheating and why they had to cut a hole in the engine cover so they could gain access to them and blow them with hand tools.

        Also the reason for their short stints with Vandoorne.

        1. Yes but do you know why the turbos were overheating? Its because that rogue exhaust blew a hole in the heat shield and they didn’t have a spare. So they cut holes to relieve components which would normally be protected by the shield. Very simple and easy fix.

          1. The rogue exhaust blew a hole in Alonso’s car, how? I thought the issue was only with Stoffel’s car.

            Or maybe it’s a design issue that needed not a spare, but a new part.

    4. wait until he starts complaining about tyres… “worst tyre ever! gp2 tyres! karma!” comments will entail :)

    5. Eric, the only thing that cost £2 in McLaren are your Specsaver specs mate. Nothing, especially an exhaust bolt, is going to be that cheap. That’s probably Boron and more like £40 each. I had a lot of hope for Eric when he joined from Lotus (Renault?), following the success he appeared to have running Kimi & Romain but sometimes I think he left his brains in his lunch box back in the Renault (Lotus?) trailer.

      1. @baron

        +1
        Starting to agree a lot more with you past few weeks. Not that it is a good thing, but hey take the +1.

    6. I guess those massive vents they added help keep the $2 bolt nice and cool. Nothing to do with the exhaust overheating.

      1. @textuality don’t be silly. Mclaren is like a well oiled machine. But don’t take my word for it, Just ask triple world champion Kimi Räikkönen.

        1. Indeed, not a raikkonen fan, but he was close enough to schumacher who didn’t have any reliability retirements in 2003 to raikkonen’s 1 and close enough to alonso who didn’t have any to raikkonen’s 3 in 2005, albeit 2005 being a compromise, the slower and reliable renault vs faster and unreliable mclaren.

    7. J-dog-the-clown
      1st March 2018, 19:42

      Shoulda bought a £5 bolt instead

    8. I didn’t even know Honda made bolts..

    9. Some people here it seems haven’t been exposed to all of the facts. An interview with autosport revealed that the bolt failed, and the exhaust burned everything at the rear of the car so they had to replace the gearbox and wiring looms etc. The exhaust also burned a hole in the heat shield. They didn’t have spares. So that’s why you see them cutting the bodywork for cooling because there’s a big gaping hole in the heat shield in that area. The bolt failed because of concentrated pockets of heat. They’re already looking into ways to reduce those heat pockets. Small problem, big consequences. Although an easy fix, thankfully. Anyway great mileage today!

    10. Did McLaren get their bolts at a dollar shop? I’m just surprised that any of the parts they used are that cheap and that might explain why it broke …..

    11. So the lost wheel wasn’t just a straight forward wheel but problem then?

    12. They should of bought the 10 pound one

      1. Nah the cars are too heavy as it is.

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