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McLaren can go into Melbourne with confidence says Stoffel Vandoorne

09 Марта 2018

Fernando Alonso did just seven laps and failed to set a time, just a day after Stoffel Vandoorne boosted the team's hopes with a smooth day that included a 151 laps of running.

Traditionally it is wise not to read too much into headline times at testing as teams run different fuel loads, set-ups and tyre compounds, all of which can significantly influence speed. But the pre-season testing so far has been troubled with frequent stoppages on the track.

Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Nonetheless it means another engine change and therefore another heap of lost track-time.

A hard start to the second test saw Stoffel Vandoorne limited by a hydraulics problem on Tuesday, before Alonso missed out on nearly seven hours of running the following day when the power unit had to be changed following an oil leak. "If there's problems they quickly find a solution as well". The second test has seen the team frequently stopping out on the track and losing time. "As I said before, I prefer that happened here rather than in two weeks time".

McLaren can go into Melbourne with confidence says Stoffel Vandoorne
McLaren can go into Melbourne with confidence says Stoffel Vandoorne

Fernando Alonso will return to the cockpit for the final day of testing Friday. "Hopefully back on track soon". Alonso stated he had "zero concerns" around that, and remained positive of his experiences of driving with the Renault engine, and it's CV from 2017. McLaren had to make quick modifications to the engine cover to prevent exhaust heat from burning the vehicle.

"Because you have a good feeling in the vehicle, it's not that there's no issues to resolve".

Asked again if McLaren has been too aggressive with its packaging of the Renault power unit in the rear of its vehicle, Boullier replied: "That's a call which I will do later; obviously we have to finish testing now and see how we're going to go into the first race".

He added: "I would have liked to get into the 17s, but we'll save that for the racing".

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"We have a new engine supplier and a completely new vehicle, but there are no special alarms". It is part of the process. We have adjusted our cooling and our needs to the auto. "Give us time and everything will be alright".

When asked if the reliability problems were related to design issues with engine packaging Boullier replied:"I don't think it is related, no".

"Obviously there's a few areas we have to work on, our auto in Melbourne will be quite different, there will be a lot of updates coming. We are sure that we will deal with everything", said the Frenchman.

McLaren believe their switch from Honda to Renault power will ultimately end a four-year podium drought but Eric Boullier conceded on the final day of testing that the new MCL33 is now not a match for the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari cars.

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Leading McLaren figures are denying that the British team is still in crisis even after dumping Honda. McLaren in six days of testing has completed only 350 laps, 303 laps lesser than champions Mercedes. If somebody makes a mistake, the other party doesn't get the blame.

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McLaren can go into Melbourne with confidence says Stoffel Vandoorne