Pre-season testing kicked off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with the new McLaren breaking down after just one lap in the morning session.
Yep, not the best way to begin the new season. Fernando Alonso – wearing a cool camouflage helmet design – managed just one installation lap before a problem was detected.
The MCL32 had seemingly ran well and hit the 100km filming day limit in Spain on Sunday, as Alonso and new team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne gave the car a shakedown.
But, an oil system issue was found by Honda after Alonso’s one and only lap. We almost had a bit of déjà vu after all of McLaren’s reliability woes after the last two seasons.
Various reports quoted a Honda spokesperson, who said the problem was in a difficult area and wouldn’t be an easy fix.
Fortunately McLaren could get straight to work as Alonso returned to the garage, so there were no deck chair antics this time…
McLaren said it’ll run again later in the day and the team proved to be right, with Alonso emerging on track again mid-way through the afternoon session.
Still, not a great start. But McLaren weren’t alone in the morning session. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completed just four laps before the RB13 ground to a halt with a sensor issue at Turn 4.
But, testing is all about ironing out issues and discovering bugs, niggly problems and technical gremlins. It’s hardly surprising.
McLaren and Red Bull will be feeling frustrated to not hit the ground running straight away, though.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Mercedes W08 looks bulletproof so far and Valtteri Bottas racked up 79 laps in the morning session. Quite an achievement.
He was second on the timesheets in the morning after a soft-tyre run, with a short medium tyre stint putting Sebastian Vettel fastest with a 1:22.791.