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F1 testing nightmares: McLaren Honda reunion quickly turns sour

F1 testing nightmares: McLaren Honda reunion quickly turns sour

F1 News

F1 testing nightmares: McLaren Honda reunion quickly turns sour

F1 testing nightmares: McLaren Honda reunion quickly turns sour
James Phillips

F1 pre-season testing is taking place this week ahead of the start of the new campaign in Bahrain and whilst it is the first chance for us to look at new machinery on track, teams will look to hit the ground running by harvesting critical data.

But it doesn't all go so smoothly, as the following example shows.

McLaren-Honda dominated F1 between 1988 and 1992 - the MP4/4 kicking off that period by winning 15 out of 16 races in 1988.

So when the Woking-based outfit persuaded Honda to come back to the sport to reform the iconic alliance, F1 fans were left with a mouth-watering prospect in 2015.

Honda drafted plans to join the grid a full year after the turbo-hybrid power units had been introduced. This would give the Japanese manufacturer additional time to perfect the power unit and allow McLaren a chance to return to the front of the grid after a spell of performing below expectations.

READ MORE: F1 testing nightmares: Red Bull's Renault disaster

First impressions

The first hint that all was not well occurred after the 2014 season ended, and the cars took to Abu Dhabi for the post-season test. Expectations and excitement were high at McLaren and Honda, as a modified MP4/29 had the Honda engine fitted. The media waited for the reunion of this iconic alliance outside the garage.

However as reported by Sky Sports, the team achieved a total of just three laps on day one, as electrical gremlins kept occurring.

Day two saw just two laps achieved, including the car stopping on track. Far from the triumphant return the two parties hoped for, it proved concerning. The team played the severity of the issues down the in media, but McLaren needed a better showing in Barcelona with its 2015 challenger.

READ MORE: F1 testing nightmares: Mansell's sizeable problem

Testing nightmares

With Fernando Alonso now joining Jenson Button, McLaren's expectations had risen. These came crashing down at the Barcelona test, where the car managed just six laps each in the first two days.

As reported by Sky Sports, The McLaren Honda MP4/30 managed only 40 consecutive laps across all preseason tests, not even completing a full race distance. This would have dire consequences for the team that term.

Car issues may have been one problem, but a curious incident on the exit of turn three left Fernando Alonso injured and out of the first race - the circumstances surrounding the crash still largely unknown.

McLaren would slip to P9 in the constructors' championship in 2015 and with issues and a lack of competitiveness persisting, the Honda relationship fell apart in 2017.

The reunion that promised so much was left in tatters. McLaren and Honda have both moved on - Honda effectively powering Red Bull to three titles in the past two years.

But for McLaren, the wait for a first championship since 2008 continues.

READ MORE: ’Change your f***ing car’ - Horner vs Wolff erupts on Drive To Survive

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