McLaren engine trouble on day 1 of second test

McLaren entered this week’s Formula 1 test in Barcelona having stubbed their toe in the first test two weeks ago so expectations were hopeful they would have a better program starting on Tuesday. Those hopes were somewhat dashed as another engine replacement was required on Stoffel Vandoorne’s car after an electrical problem presented itself.

“In the interests of maximising lap time, we sped to replace the power-unit and investigate the issue further once it is out of the car.

“The PU we are using is the same specification as the one run at the test last week.”, said a Honda spokesperson.

The relationship is challenged if not strained at this point but the team were quick to point out that the engine they are using for this week’s test is the same as they used in the first test. A new spec engine will be fitted for the first race in Australia in three weeks. McLaren race director, Eric Boullier, says the strain is at a maximum.

“Obviously we are in F1, we are racing, and we have to perform.

“So the pressure is obviously huge and obviously we put the maximum pressure on all of our relationship with Honda, and the same for them.

“We cannot put a footstep wrong.

“We need to be able to deliver the best car as well, so this is both sides.”

It’s not an easy issue to fix. The team have a long-term contract with Honda and even though the Japanese engine maker entered the hybrid power unit formula late in the game, many believe they should have advanced by now. That’s not to say that the newly designed engine for 2017 won’t come on song by Australia but what the team are missing now is chassis development proven by amassing mileage during these initial tests.

McLaren have no choice in the situation in the near term. They simply have to slog it out and work with Honda to cure their ills and find pace and reliability. Even if they wanted to use another engine, this chassis is designed for the Honda and I can’t honestly think of an engine maker who would want to enter F1 with the regulations and engine format set to change in 2020.

If they eventually do get their engine sorted, McLaren may then be able to compete at the sharp end of the grid but they may have to do that without the services of Fernando Alonso who’s patience could give out.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Zachary Noepe

As the resident McLaren basher who has been saying they were fubar since they had the best engine and just forgot to put gas in it or screw the wheels on right, I would actually rather not be this right. This is getting to where I almost have to look away.


It _is_ embarrassing, isn’t it.

Salvu Borg

Lack of on track testing time is the worst thing that a F1 team can encounter/ran into, it is considered worse than a part or parts failure, a part or parts failure will have to be redesigned and remanufactured and it will have the advantage that its weakness has been exposed, but the lack of on track testing cannot be compensated, that is where the car is really validated. Some parts of the engine can have a real long lead time to modify the design and re-manufacture, I remember Renault in 2014 needed 20 weeks to fix one of their… Read more »


I mean we all know there’s been talks about teams sandbagging during testing, but McLaren is taking it to an all new level.


Thanks for keeping the hope alive Ryan ;-)

Salvu Borg

people I normally talk to says that re-Honda engine problem/s there is only two ways about it, (1) they are running least power mapping possible to give the chassis people as much mileage as possible, or (2) the engine is grossly under powered, the car being at least 25km slower at speed traps than the best. I personally believe the problem is number one and until they solve their reliability problems things cannot improve. but that when and if they do, the improvement on track will be dramatic.


If they are trying to give the team more mileage to sort the chassis out, it doesn’t seem to be that effective, the team is still running far fewer laps than most.
Perhaps they should have stuck with the 2016 power unit and developed it, rather than starting from scratch again?

Salvu Borg

yes agree that mchonda are still running fewer laps than most, but the few laps they have managed I personally regard them as a great effort from both sides of the team, as to suggesting that Honda should have stuck with the 2016 power unit, well I don’t personally think that it is something anybody will ever think of or contemplate.


In 2016 testing, McLaren completed more laps than both Manor and Sauber, and were faster than both of those teams. So far in 2017, McLaren have managed to complete more laps than Toro Rosso, but are the slowest of the lot. Sauber (the only team using a 2016 Power Unit) are comfortably faster than McLaren and running more reliably. In the first test last week, McLaren only managed 208 laps, compared to the 277 laps they managed in the first test last year. While most teams completed fewer laps (thanks in part to the wet track on the final day… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

I feel like they missed a real opportunity by not taking Lance Stroll. It would bring some needed cash and he wouldn’t be in a position to get hurt like he is in a working car.


Teeheee! Lance is going to take so much sh*t this year :-)

Salvu Borg

STR had an engine change, Renault had an engine change, right this morning RBR had an engine change, yet the only engine change people talks about are those at mchonda. likewise Stroll lost it three times, Massa did too, as did several others all of whom wasn’t missed by most of the top notch media covering the goings on, but wonder of wonders when number 44 lost-it on more than one occasion nobody of the above grande media noticed.


Alonso is losing patience very early this season..
On the positive side, he can drive the car flat everywhere, must be a great chassis :-)