For now, McLaren’s problems will not go away. At the start of the Barcelona test, a faulty seal on the Honda’s MGU-K unit forced Japanese engineers to return the drawing board.
The new part was fitted on Saturday, but it too failed and left Jenson Button at the bottom of the timesheets.
Before that happened, team boss Eric Boullier had said McLaren-Honda had only got through 50 per cent of its scheduled test programme ahead of Melbourne.
“Now it’s 43 per cent,” Button smiled meekly, according to international media reports.
“Our situation looks worse than it is,” he added, “because I know we will solve the problems we are having.
“I know we will not have a car capable of winning the first race,” Button acknowledged, “but we could have one by the last race.
“There is a lot of potential in this car,” he added, “but it’s difficult to get it out when we are constantly pulling it apart and putting it back together.” (GMM)