McLaren still struggling on day 1 & 2 of testing

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Day 1 of the second test in 2018 didn’t start well for McLaren who suffered two stoppages due to electrical issues as well as some heat related concerns with their bodywork. Managing only 38 laps was not how McLaren would have wanted their day to go and it is starting to look like a case of déjà vu.

Meanwhile, Ferrari hammered out 171 laps with Red Bull and Sauber on their tail at 130 and 120 respectively. Max Verstappen did have an issue with his Red Bull and Renault say that what both McLaren and Red Bull were experiencing were battery system issues. Renault say they are using these test to vet energy store systems and as the drivers only get two for the entire season, it is critical to find the best systems and weed out the ones with potential issues.

Once again, the encouraging team of the day is Toro Rosso and their new Honda engine who piled up another 54 laps with their fastest being .5s off the fastest pace. The team did suffer a brake problem.

I’m still holding my breath but I did say last year that it would not surprise me if Honda move to STR and immediately do better and if McLaren can’t come to terms with the new Renault engine, then it will suggest the issue may not have been purely Honda’s after all.

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1m20.396s171
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1m20.596s0.200s86
3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m20.649s0.253s130
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m20.808s0.412s91
5Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda1m20.973s0.577s54
6Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m21.298s0.902s95
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1m21.432s1.036s48
8Carlos SainzRenault1m21.455s1.059s91
9Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes1m21.588s1.192s42
10Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m21.643s1.247s93
11Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m21.706s1.310s120
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault1m21.946s1.550s38
13Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1m22.937s2.541s86


Day two hasn’t started much better for McLaren with an oil leak prompting an engine change but Fernando Alonso did manage to get back out on track to rack up some seriously needed mileage in the morning session. Eventually he stopped again on the on the escape road at turn 7.


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sunny stivala

Indications point to Honda having dumped the $100 million they were giving mclaren yearly straight into their development program. While their test engine is raking up miles in Barcelona their Australian intended race engine version is raking up hours alongside another more powerful upgrade engine on two separate dynos in Sakura.
Have read that Renault used a second chassis already, haven’t heard of such strange things for a long time now.
The SF71H showed incredible constant lap times consistency both on medium and soft tyres yesterday.


I feel McLaren we’re in a catch-22 situation with the PU. If they stayed with Honda would the situation have improved this year as it seems to have for Toro Rosso(?). It seems better for Toro Rosso, but the relationship is still fresh. McLaren is also staying positive, but again the relationship is fresh. While some of the problems could be seen as growing pains, they did start development late last year, some are purely QC type problems which are squarely on the teams shoulder (wheel nut, exhaust clamp). The rest is testing, if your not pushing to failure how… Read more »

sunny stivala

Burned bodywork around the PU is reminiscent of the holes RBR were frantically drilling and cutting on their rear bodywork in first winter testing in 2014 while screaming Renault was crap which they partially were.

sunny stivala

everybody on the F1 grid tries to make everything as compact as can be while being careful not to overdoing it, last time somebody over did it, it started the biggest partnership storm ever in F1. This time it followed suit with the same results.

Martin Hills

Would a minimum waist width to the “coke bottle”be a worthwhile rule? If the cooling packaging was less aero dependent we might see a slight levelling of the field maybe.. improved cooling designs (so less failures) and easier packaging (simplifying swapping manufacturers)….

sunny stivala

McLaren owners should have stuck to racing camels.


McLaren were brave to make the split with Honda, but it is a gamble. At the moment it looks like the gamble is paying off better for STR than McLaren. STR have been running lots of laps, competitive lap times and (reportedly) high top speeds, whereas McLaren are having reliability problems, low lap counts, and slower top speeds (against the STR and also the other Renault powered teams). I’m concerned for McLaren, as testing has been a pretty good predictor of performance over the hybrid period. Though as you say SubC, only two weeks until season 2018 kicks off for… Read more »

sunny stivala

Google click and watch:- “McLaren get in a muddle with tyre selection on day 3”.

sunny stivala

Also have a look:- pius gasso on twitter “FERRARI upskirt”

sunny stivala

Also have a look, but don’t worry everything is fine. “alessandro on twitter #f1testing working on #Ferrari”.


Yeah…….it’s the Alfa cloverleafs
You get used to being told “don’t worry mate, they all do that”

sunny stivala

That might look alarming but nothing more than condensation on a particular cold day. a trained aye will look if it Dissipates/disappears or not, if it does in a short distance it is just condensate/steaming, if it does not and stays put in the air that’s oil burn. This year the engine crankcase breather from oil/air separator (centrifuge) does not discharge into the engine air intake, rules has been changed for it to discharge at the back of the car. All FERRARI engine cars discharges right into the rear crash structure. that is the rear most part of the car… Read more »


Good grief! That looks like amateur hour, what is going on with the McLaren???

sunny stivala

I have honestly never have seen a wheel being put on the axle inside out (the wrong way round) in a F1 pit-stop real or practice.

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