Though McLaren's emphasis is on the MP4-31 ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, its unloved Honda-powered MP4-30 looks set to be retired with a whimper after a blown engine brought Stoffel Vandoorne to a stop in testing at Paul Ricard.
The 2015 specification car has been wheeled out for a two-day wet weather tyre test in aid of Pirelli, who are testing new rubber on McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull, but though there is no pure performance element to the test, the MP4-30 still ended its day on a flat-bed truck.
Though more of a frustration for Pirelli than for McLaren since no 2016 parts can be used on the car, it was an early end for reserve driver Vandoorne nonetheless. Even so, the Belgian says will be no disruption to McLaren's preparations on the second and final day as the engine was set to be replaced anyway.
“We had an engine failure, so that was the end of our day,” he said. “All the teams are running last year's engines anyway. I don't know how many miles were on the engine but we were planning to change overnight anyway but it broke at the end of the day.”
Despite the loss of track time, Vandoorne branded the outing as productive for him to get more time at the wheel of an F1 car ahead of what is likely to be largely sidelined role in 2016.
“I felt pretty confident from the word go. We are not doing any set up work on the car because it is last year's car, so we are not developing and we are not allowed to. We are running it as Abu Dhabi, we just put it on the ground, put fuel in it and it is ready to go. A couple of tweaks here and there to make me feel a bit more comfortable, but the important thing is to get a good base so we can have consistent running to help Pirelli.”
Though Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen didn't give the latest specification tyres a ringing endorsement, Vandoorne was more positive.
“We have tested different specifications, some were better than others, but that is usual in tyre testing. I think we still have to look at what Pirelli want to bring to us tomorrow. There will probably be some different compounds but we haven't received any information yet.”