It was a stop-start but ultimately productive day of running for McLaren-Honda for the sixth day of testing at the Circuit de Catalonia on Wednesday when despite losing out on mileage over the course of the test due to reliability issues, the team pushed ahead with its scheduled test programme.
In the morning they focused on aeromapping, while in the afternoon their attention was on handling and set-up changes with Fernando Alonso in charge throughout the day..
The nature of the run plan dictated short runs punctuated with longer spells of set-up changes. A scheduled ESS pack and floor change meant lunch break would be longer than usual, however, while stripping down the car, the team noticed a small water leak, which was also fixed at the same time.
The team then took the opportunity to undertake a more thorough check of the car, its set-up and its systems, to ensure any running in the afternoon could be as productive as possible, but this meant the car remained in the garage for longer than originally planned.
Fernando re-joined the track at approximately 16:00, and despite only clocking up a total of 46 laps, the team gathered a lot of useful data on car and PU behaviour in preparation for Melbourne.
“Any mileage we can do is good, but as we're starting to understand the car more, it's important to try different set-ups,” Alonso explained. “You can do this in 12 runs of 10 laps each, or in 12 runs of 3 laps each - you'll still finish the day with 40 or 50 laps, but with exactly the same information. With the problems we've had, the team has very cleverly opted for these short runs, which gives us the same valuable information at the end of each day. I think we're going in the right direction, but there are obvious areas where we need to improve.”
“We're not fully ready to complete a race distance at the moment, and we're only two weeks away from the first race. We will improve – we have to improve – and I'm expecting a very strong reaction from the team. I feel ready for this new challenge, and I'm driving at my best. The car is good in the corners, it's a good chassis, and we're just missing one thing, which is power. We'll do whatever we need to improve this and be competitive. I remain confident because we're a big team, we're going in the right direction, and I think we have the capability to improve the situation.”