After conducting shakedowns with our interim MP4-29H/1X1 at Silverstone and Yas Marina Circuit last November, today marked the first time that the McLaren-Honda chassis and power unit had run together as a bespoke combination, in the sleek and tightly packaged MP4-30.
After a successful fire-up, the morning was spent conducting a number of single-lap installation runs, which were gradually increased in length, concluding in a three-lap run at lunchtime.
However, the programme ended early after the engineers and mechanics were unable to resolve a technical issue in time for the car to resume running for the rest of the day.
“Given the complexity of modern Formula 1 machinery, the sorts of issues we encountered today weren’t too surprising. They’re just the things you experience on the first day of a Formula 1 test. But it’s been a fantastic day for me: to have the privilege to drive the car for the first time – for the comeback of McLaren and Honda after 23 years – makes me feel extremely proud.
“Obviously, I don’t really have a feeling for the car yet – I only did a handful of laps, and most of those were at slow speed, conducting preliminary checks – so I need a bit more time to be able to speak accurately about it. But everything seems to be responding well, and showing us what we expected.
“We have a lot still to learn, but let’s not forget how tough it was for a lot of teams last year. It’ll be no different for us. Every lap we do, we learn something, so hopefully we’ll arrive in Australia with a good understanding of the car.
“So far, everything feels very exciting – there are a lot of positive emotions inside the garage for everybody, and I’m very happy to be part of this project.”
ERIC BOULLIER – Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“Today was a challenging day, which was not surprising to us given that our car has been designed to a radical all-new size-zero philosophy. In fact, we’re still in the process of analysing this afternoon’s technical issues, systematically and methodically, in an effort to increase our mileage in the coming days.
“What’s particularly encouraging is the way that McLaren’s and Honda’s technicians and engineers are already working so well together – collaborating seamlessly in their shared ambition to nail a revolutionary new car’s inevitable developmental gremlins as soon as possible.
“Tonight will be arduous and sleepless, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring it on!”
YASUHISA ARAI – Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport
“We had a good, steady, checking, lap-by-lap session this morning, and received good feedback from MP4-30.
“This is the first shakedown of our radically designed car, so we expected to encounter a few issues, and we look forward to doing longer runs in the near future.
“Finally, this is an exciting first day of a very exciting project. It’s great to be on the inside at last, rather than sitting in the stands!”
We’ll conduct an intensive analysis of the car tonight in a bid to address the issues that affected our first day’s running. Jenson will have his first taste of MP4-30.