Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

McLaren has “addressed” testing problems – Boullier

2018 Australian Grand Prix

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the team has tackled the series of problems which hampered its pre-season tests.

For the second year running McLaren covered the smallest number of laps of any team in testing, despite an off-season switch from Honda to Renault power units. Boullier said the team has responded to the faults, which included a wheel nut failure, oil leak and cooling problems.

“We didn’t have the reliability we had hoped for in winter testing, but all the issues we faced have since been addressed back at the factory,” said Boullier.

“There’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our quest to extract the maximum pace we can from our new package from the first race.”

“We’re not expecting miracles to be worked overnight – far from it,” added Boullier, “but what we do know is that we’ll give it our all this weekend.”

Despite its problems in Spain McLaren set the second-fastest time of any team over the eight days of testing. Fernando Alonso said he was encouraged by the car’s early performance.

“Our car showed a lot of potential in winter testing,” he said. “Although we know we still have a lot to work on, we’ve already learned a lot about the package and how all the new elements to this year’s car work together.”

“Australia is its first real test, and we need to work hard all weekend to bring all the ingredients together.”

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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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16 comments on “McLaren has “addressed” testing problems – Boullier”

  1. Are there any pictures of the holes Mclaren cut into the bodywork. I read about it but never saw images of them…

    1. @mach1 I heard people talking about it here too, but I don’t know if there was some confusion

      There was a hole in a heat shield, which is used to protect bodywork, that led to some burns in the engine cover and they kept using that engine cover regardless, I don’t know if this might be it. Keith uploaded a series of pictures and I never saw a hole in the body work

      you can see the burned engine cover here those two black smudges between the number 2 and renault

    2. i saw some higher definition photos but only found this now

      1. I might be mistaken, but if you look at the picture referenced by ‘here’ in @johnmilk ‘s post, above the two black smudges you see a little rectangular hole. I believe we were shown another pic after this one where there were another two or three black rectangles like that one, only further down toward the back of the car. Those are the holes I was assuming were being talked about. A way for heat to escape from the top leading edge of the airbox/engine cover right where the fin attaches (fin might be one piece with engine cover, not sure if it is a seperate pc.)

        1. There were 4 slots cut into the body panels just under the shark fin and we saw the pit crew eventually blowing these during one of the bodged/prolonged pit stops.


          Also 8 gills seemed to have appeared on top of the side pod panel (in the second test?) They wernt there on the very first pics of this car. Ferrari had quite a big hole at the front of this section (last pic)




          1. @mach1 @robbie

            (4 holes each side) close up of two bottom ones https://imgur.com/a/36pwJ

          2. Removable “Gills” on top of sidepods has always been a common practice for every team. “Quite a big hole” on Ferrari is their regular sidepod inlet (upper one), this is second year for them using this type of inlets.

          3. I noticed last year’s Gills that appeared later on the Honda McLaren were up the side not over side pods.
            Also these not as direct as Ferrari’s https://imgur.com/a/slfDX

            The ones that appeared this year are also more towards the tub of the car than over the side pod inlets like Ferrari. I dont think this is a big deal given the variations and changes in the past

  2. Not criticizing whatsoever, but I find it interesting that normally one would expect to read “McLaren (or sub any team put in a similar situation) covered the smallest number of laps of any team in testing ‘because’ of an off-season switch…” not ‘despite’ an off-season switch, no? ie. we’d normally expect teething problems for a team in a new marriage with an engine supplier, but in this case Mac hasn’t gotten the same level of patience by many, because it has been somewhat assumed that as long as it’s not the Honda in back, they should be right back up to form immediately. F1 is harder than that, and I think Mac deserves some of our patience because of that.

    Oh of course I do get that they have spoken highly of their own chassis in recent years, and perhaps that is why for this set of circumstances perhaps they are getting cut less slack. Anyway…a constant work in progress as is everything in F1 for any team.

    1. @robbie

      Red Bull had cooling troubles and cut holes in their bodywork during testing when they switched to the Ferrari V8. Took them a whilst to be competitive :(

    2. @robbie they were the one’s telling us what the problem was, and that a new engine would be the solution to their problems.

      The despite instead of because also comes from a switch of an unreliable engine in the McLaren to a realiable one, or at least a better proposition.

      Problems last year were due to Honda despite changing to Renault they still found some gremlins, sounds fair to me

  3. Thanks @johnmilk for the link. I haven’t had any time to research recently and from what I briefly read “McLaren had to hack holes in their bodywork” I’d assumed Red Bull style proportions, what was it, 3 years back? It just goes to show you (me) should exercise caution over certain headlines. Not this site I hasten to add!

  4. For many years I have taken what Mclaren (Boullier, Dennis, Brown) have said, and if you put the opposite on their positive prediction, then that is the result.
    So Mclaren will break down in Australia. Maybe even overheat on the grid like the Stewarts did in 99.

    Oh and sponsors? Forget it. Flip flops don’t count…

    1. @Kringle
      What did you expect them to say “Honda insists on solely doing the engine design themselves even though we have experience and resources to help them so don’t look for McLaren to be competitive for at least 5 years?”

      They didn’t put a positive spin on it – they kept listening to Honda’s empty promises hoping they would come through.
      Failure would be too kind of a description about Honda’s failure – travesty is more fitting.

      Three years of agony because of their arrogance, deceit and ineptness – good riddance.

      1. We will see

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