Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Vandoorne says McLaren is “on top of” its car problems

2018 F1 season

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Stoffel Vandoorne said McLaren has got to grips with the car problems it experienced during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Ahead of the final day of testing the MCL33 had covered the lowest mileage of any car. An electrical problem hampered Vandoorne’s running on Tuesday and an oil leak badly disrupted Fernando Alonso’s session on Wednesday.

Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Pictures: F1 testing day seven
However Vandoorne said the effect these problems had on their running exaggerated how series they were.

“The issues we’ve had over the past couple of days were not massive or major issues,” he said, “they just cost us a lot of track time and they’ve taken a long time to fix. We’re on top of them.”

“There’s no reason why they should be more problems and I think we’re confident to go to Melbourne with a strong package.”

McLaren will bring a new aerodynamic package for the car at the first race of the year, which was planned before testing began.

“The car in Melbourne will be quite different,” said Vandoorne, “we have a lot of updates coming.”

“Everything we learn here we need to carry forward, learn about it. The car and package we have in Melbourne will be quite different, we’ll have to try and understand that there.”

Vandoorne completed a race simulation in the car on Thursday. “There was no surprises, no major problems,” he said.

“It’s always very important because during a race simulation, for example, you test the stress on the car, the cooling on the car. All the unexpected things. To be honest everything ran very smoothly.”

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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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  • 18 comments on “Vandoorne says McLaren is “on top of” its car problems”

    1. Oh, the irony, just when I hear that Alonso’s car just stopped again at turn seven …

      1. So true.

      2. Mclaren should ditch Alonso, he is the root of all b

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          9th March 2018, 12:52

          Alonso is an unlucky guy but if your point is that he generates the bad luck, that’s a possibility too.

          He appears to be a lot more mellow in his 30s – no one has denied Alonso’s skills but he’s always been a controversial guy. I always wondered if his connection to Flavio affected Alonso who may have seen Flavio as a “role model” and it’s slowly fading away with Flavio’s departure and the distance between them.

          His stint at McLaren has gained him a lot of followers as it’s hard to see such a talented driver suffer. I think we are seeing the real Fernando surface.

        2. After this year, hopefully Vandoorne might be ready to lead the team.

    2. Starting to wonder if Honda left the McLaren-Honda partnership on purpose.
      Irrespective of who finishes higher in the constructor’s standings, if McLaren-Renault have more reliability problems than STR Honda, that would be a massive embarrassment for all stakeholders, including the drivers and the fans. Really appreciate Fernando’s patience amidst all this.

      Hope they sort all their problems out within the first half.

      1. Ah, no!? Honda obviously didn’t left on purpose. They wanted to stay with McLaren. That’s what they said. Why is everyone seeing conspiracys?
        The thing that McLaren have problems and may be slow and could be part of the cause of the failure of the last three years doesn’t change that. But yes, it would be remarkable.

    3. you test […] the cooling on the car

      Not much of a test of the cooling this week surely! ;-)

    4. Loss of tracktime is crucial. If the team is on top of their problem(s), why the recurrence? The purpose of testing is to check whether the mechanical parts as well as aero parts are working. Why wait for Australia to bring updates? What if the updates do not efficiently work in Australia?
      Is it a case of Mclaren pushing the boundaries of the car, or is it a case of overhype? is there teething problem with Renault engine?

      1. All teams will bring updates to Melbourne.. They will have a lot of stuff penciled in for the whole year and a development route to take. McLaren admitted they were behind. Some other teams have said the Halo has set them back also.
        Lack of laps obviously harms them if they are to stop Mercedes winning the title again, but nobody seems in Mercs league anyway. McLaren might as well take risks now and look at it as another year of testing.

    5. After watching the Grand Prix Driver and seeing how they’ve performed the last two weeks, I can only conclude that McLaren are delusional. To say this last night, and then not get any running in this morning is just beyond the pale.

    6. However Vandoorne said the effect these problems had on their running exaggerated how series they were.

      Yes, the series of problems that they’ve been having haven’t been that series… erm, serious. The issues with loose wheel nuts or intellectually inferior 2-quid bolts had better happen in testing rather than at Melbourne.

      1. I wonder how much they’re now prepared to pay for their bolts? :)

    7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th March 2018, 12:45

      Aren’t mechanics supposed to be under the car? That could be the problem – the fact that they are on “top” of the car :-)

    8. is it just me, or should the wing mirror on the left of the picture be changed to read “Broken”. I always have and always will be a McClaren fan. I really hope they can sort these issues out and give this season a good go.

    9. they are bringing a new aero package for the first race? Is that not what this long testing period is for?

      So they are behind schedule with that and they appear to have an unstable oil distribution system that is giving them recurring leaks.

      I expect them to sandbag quite a bit during testing but this is starting to look all too familiar.

      1. It’s not uncommon at all: as the article notes Force India are doing it too. I wouldn’t be surprised if others do as well. The rate of development is that fast. Teams are increasingly confident in the quality of their correlation between wind tunnel, CFD and track that they can turn up at races with new aerodynamic parts knowing they’ll work. Testing therefore gets used more for mechanical stuff, set-up checks and tyre evaluation.

    10. I watched Grand Prix Driver and was quite shocked as to how disjointed McLaren were. No wonder their car was a dog last few years. Very different feel to when Ron Dennis was managing director many years ago. Stoffel Vandoorne was one guy that enhanced his reputation in that. I felt McLaren just hoped for the best a lot and left far too much to chance. I’d be very surprised if they are up near Mercedes and Ferrari in Melbourne.

    Comments are closed.