McLaren-Honda and Fernando Alonso's preparations for the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship have received another set-back after he managed barely any running on the final day of the first F1 test in Spain.
Having seemingly made a breakthrough with reliability on the first two days of action, with Alonso amassing
119 laps alone on Tuesday, McLaren has suffered problems since, with Jenson Button forced to curtail his running after 51 laps on Wednesday after development of a hydraulic issue.
However, worse would arise on Thursday as a coolant leak halted Alonso after three untimed laps, with the Honda-powered MP4-31 proceeding to spend the remainder of the day in the garage.
Unfortunately, the coolant leak we experienced on the car today was in a tricky position, which meant it took longer than usual to locate and fix,” said director of engineering Matt Morris. “It's always frustrating when a small issue hampers your running for much of a day, but thankfully it's relatively minor and we can now look to preparing the car for the second test on Tuesday. Testing is testing, and it gives us the opportunity to identify and work on reliability issues before we start the season.
“Over the course of the first four days in Barcelona we've done a good amount of running and already learned a lot about our package, which should stand us in good stead for next week. We're definitely ahead of where we were last year in terms of system checks and integration, so at the second test we'll be able to focus more on race simulations and setup, as well as characterising our package's performance.”
“We have a lot of data to go through over the weekend, and we look forward to getting back on track next Tuesday and continuing to get as much mileage under our belts as possible ahead of the first race in Australia.”
It means McLaren leaves the first test with significantly less mileage than its rivals – 257 laps -, though it remains a substantial improvement on last year when it managed just 79 laps.