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Azerbaijan GP

Honda tested an upgraded ‘spec 3’ engine in Baku practice with Alonso’s MCL32

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McLaren’s F1 engine partner Honda tested an upgraded ‘spec 3’ power unit on Fernando Alonso’s MCL32 in practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

2017 Honda engine have continuously let McLaren down with poor reliability and pace, last Grand Prix at Canada McLaren came close to scoring their first point of the championship, they were mugged when two laps from the end Alonso’s Honda engine failed.

Also the Spaniard’s second practice in Baku was wrecked by a gearbox failure, and not an engine issue, according to team boss Eric Boullier.

Autosport reported that, Baku showed Alonso’s new engine at 203mph, with Vandoorne getting just up to 195mph with the ‘Spec 2’ version.

There remains plenty of room for improvement though, with the fastest speed recorded through the trap being 220mph by Esteban Ocon’s Force India-Mercedes.

Despite the clear benefit the ‘spec 3’ engine has delivered, Alonso will revert to the old version from Saturday.

Following the second practice McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says about Alonso’s halt, it wasn’t actually an engine problem.

“It wasn’t an engine failure,” he said. “It was a gearbox failure.”

Touching on McLaren’s relationship with Honda after it was put to him that it was “irretrievable”, Boullier replied: “[Irretrievable] is a suggestion, which is not exactly the truth or the case.

“Both organisations are working very, very hard to make sure we get where we want to be. The little of bit friction, if there is any, is exacerbated by the media.

“It’s true that we have to deliver what we need to do. We have to be where we want to be, but both organisations are working hard to deliver. I don’t think there is such a drama like in your questions.”

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