D as is a story for the glee in Formula 1. And there are many of them. The Toro Rosso Honda runs and runs and still produces decent lap times. McLaren-Renault also holds a record. The new combination triggered most of the red flags.
On the sixth day of the test, the defect devil struck again. This time an oil leak brought it to a standstill at Turn 7. A McLaren construction site, as the team admitted. At first it looked like the damage could be repaired, but then Renault insisted on removing the engine. The French want to check the engine first before it gets back into the car. So again twiddling your thumbs for three hours.
Mockery of McLaren problems
Fernando Alonso was calm. Some say gallows humor. The Spaniard tweeted: “Early lunch break. Good laps this morning. More of that in the afternoon !!! ”Alonso raised his thumb four times.
Toro Rosso also showed a sense of fine irony. When the car went on the first round of installation on the morning of the fifth day of testing, the Italian racing team sent the tweet: 'All systems Woking fine.' Later, the deliberate spelling mistake was corrected in 'working'. With Woking, of course, was meant the headquarters of McLaren, Honda's former chassis partner. McLaren director Zak Brown dismissed: “It is logical that we are now compared to Toro Rosso. Honda is doing a great job, but we're concentrating on ourselves. ”
The oil leak was already the fifth defect that paralyzed the McLaren-Renault during the Barcelona tests. It started with the loss of a wheel on the first day of testing. Then the loose exhaust that burned half of the rear end.
At the beginning of the second week of testing, the World Cup ninth from last year was hit twice. First the battery went on strike, then a hydraulic leak caused the test day to end early. After one and a half days of testing in the second week, the clock stands at just 85 laps. Sebastian Vettel alone has reeled 237 laps in the same time.
McLaren leadership faces the press
There was a fire under the roof. McLaren provided the entire top management for the press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Team boss Eric Boullier joined the planned Zak Brown. The Frenchman had to answer the technical questions that came crashing down on the team that wants to at least race for podium places again this year. Regarding the series of breakdowns, Boullier said: “These are test drives. Something breaks. We have a new engine in the rear. That doesn't make the job any easier. ”
It is noticeable that four of the five cases of damage concentrate on the rear of the new McLaren MCL33. It's also noticeable that McLaren is punching more holes in the super-tight trim of the car every day. Is there a connection? Boullier says no. But he also admits that trying to optimize the aerodynamics has gone a step too far here and there.
“We tried to get the most out of our vehicle concept and aerodynamic platform. Now there are just step by step adjustments. That is also normal in the test phase. ”Boullier asserts that necessary modifications in this area have no influence on the further aero program up to the Australian GP.
Red Bull 1.9 seconds faster
The lap times of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are difficult to classify. McLaren is the only team that regularly uses Supersoft, Ultrasoft and Hypersoft tires. Alonso's fastest lap with 1.19.856 minutes on the morning of the sixth day of testing with Pirelli's new super glue Hypersoft makes a real difference to the others, but what is it really worth?
Lewis Hamilton drove 1.18 at the same time, 945 with unmarked medium tires. In the midday sun, Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest test time with hypersoft tires to 1.18.047 minutes. That would be 1.9 seconds faster than McLaren with the same engine and tires. But under better conditions.
For 'technical reasons', McLaren relies on the softest compounds. Since one does not want to explain these reasons in detail, one can only assume that the team does not trust itself to long runs and for this reason prefer themuses soft tires. They can be brought up to temperature more quickly and then provide reliable information about the car and setup in the short sequences that you are on the track. Boullier admits that they are now well behind schedule. 'We will therefore adjust the priorities and tick off these priorities until the end of the test.'