F1: McLaren in most need of improvement heading to Test no 2
Formula One winter testing is clearly a time for straightening out teething troubles as teams put new cars through their paces, but losing too much ground on the competition is never advisable.
The winners and losers from the first four days of testing were quite stark where the sport’s big hitters were concerned and frustratingly for British driver Jenson Button and new teammate Fernando Alonso, McLaren fell firmly into the latter category in Jerez.
Lying at the heart of the British-based team’s problems was the bumpy transition to a new Honda power unit, cited as the area of greatest hope for the coming season’s aspirations of competing with Mercedes.
While it was early in the day even by off-season standards, the engine appeared to have bedded into the refined chassis worse than Radamel Falcao has at Old Trafford, leading to much thumb twiddling from both drivers as engineers tinkered in the garage.
To put into context, Button and Alonso saw a combined track exposure of 79 laps over four days compared to tarmac-hogging Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who clocked up 516 laps between them.
As the teams head to Barcelona for round two on February 19th, the 1/1 surrounding a McLaren Grand Prix win in 2015 should be swerved like track debris on race day at present, though it’s a different story in the Ferrari garage.
Although lap times can be taken with a decent fistful of salt at this juncture, Ferrari’s sleek and appropriately Roman-nosed SF15-T was fastest on three of the four days with Kimi Raikkonen setting the quickest lap of all.
Supposedly a car improved in every department following a dismal 2014, the 4/6 surrounding a race win for the Scuderia in the coming season with Sebastian Vettel on board looks tasty.
Much more will be revealed in a full week of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya next.
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