McLaren’s new MCL33 had a fairly good outing in the Barcelona Testing where almost all teams found it tough because of the weather.
Alonso suffered a rear tyre failure on Day 1, landing in the gravel and raising concerns over the wheel structure of the new MCL33, however, it was later confirmed that the issue was a loose nut.
On Tuesday, when Stoffel Vandoorne was driving, the MCL33 suffered a fire damage because of the exhaust coming loose, causing McLaren to not field their car on the track for a lengthy period of time.
High temperatures at the rear damaged the body work of the car due to a hole in a heat shield. But the car continued to be on track as there was no replacement possible.
Eric Boullier, the McLaren sporting director revealed that it was because a ‘stupid’ bolt broke in the exhaust.
It’s a stupid bolt that broke in the exhaust,” said Boullier
“So it was a £2 problem which cost us a lot of track time, because everything was burned after in the back of the car, so we had to rebuild the gearbox and the back end.
“So nothing else than this. It didn’t cost us much to revise the design, it’s more about the track time we lost.
“As you can see the design is still the same and the car is still running.” he added.
Managing the heat has proven to be the biggest challenge for teams in the first week of testing and that is what the issue was with McLaren as well.
“Cooling is the first matter that every team is managing in the first week of testing.” he said.
“In a case where you have a new engine partner, you might have some sort of heat soak pocket in the car. Nothing else, to be honest.
“We can see on the bodywork there are a couple of stripes, but this is just because we have to make sure there are some proper heat shields in place, consider all the heat soak pockets as I said, and make sure we can modify and change the cooling inside the bodywork.” he then added.
Bad weather made its appearance on Day and Day 3 of the testing, however, the last day of testing helped all teams get a good run out on the track.
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“Finally we got rid of bad weather and mechanical glitches in the car so we could follow our programme.
“We obviously adjusted our programme, we have compressed it since three days to give some priorities to some items, but today we are now starting to gather data on aero, and even work on some mechanical changes now.
“So it’s a learning process actually, so we’ll try to learn as much as we can now.” Boullier said.
Boullier then spoke about how McLaren will be approaching the second test next week, focussing more on race distance.
“First to do a race distance, and obviously bringing also some live pitstops, which obviously we’ve given more focus this year, so we have some new equipment and stuff to try.
“So a race distance will be the key next week.” he conlcuded