Jenson gets his first laps

Jenson Button had his first run out in the McLaren Honda at Jerez today. The MP4-30 only managed a total of six laps, due to some ancillary issues and rain late in the day halting progress. The Briton completed six laps in the car, with an unrepresentative time of 1m54.655.

Fernando Alonso will take control of the car for tomorrows running, the third day of the four day test.

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McLaren-Honda’s First Run

Check out the sounds to the new Honda engine in this clip from Jerez today, as Fernando Alonso went out of the garage and on to the circuit for the first time in his MP4-30.

McLaren Honda completes first laps

The MP4-30 has completed it first laps as the new partnership between McLaren and Honda began at the Jerez circuit. Fernando Alonso managed six installation laps of the track as the team and engine manufacturer begin to work with each other. Alonso ended the day with an unrepresentative time of 1m40.738.

Alonso leaves the garage

         Alonso leaves the garage

There were some electronic issues throughout the afternoon, which meant the car had to remain in the garage, however, there are high hopes for a successful day tomorrow when Jenson Button takes over the steering wheel.

After the running, McLaren boss Ron Dennis also alluded to a change of livery for the MP4-30 in the coming weeks.

McLaren Honda MP4-30 Revealed

McLaren released images of the 2015 Formula One car, the first year of a new partnership with the Honda engine company. The photos of the new car show a similar colour scheme to ones previously used by the Woking squad, something the team says “firmly contextualises McLaren’s brand in the 21st century.”

McLaren say the MP4-30 chassis is a thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren, it is the only chassis on the grid to be fitted with Honda’s RA615H Hybrid power unit. Honda have developed a 145kg 1.6 litre V6 power unit for the forthcoming season. The rumours are that the Japanese engine manufacturer have done supremely well in being able to produce sufficient power and efficiency as well as managing to package the power unit into the tighter McLaren chassis, which has been produced by Chief Engineer Peter Prodromou, hired from Red Bull in September 2014, Matt Morris the Director of Engineering and the Technical Director Tim Goss.

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso

Jenson Button said: “The off-season has really brought about a sense of renewal coming into 2015 – continuing my relationship with McLaren, getting married, and now embarking on such an exciting chapter: McLaren’s new partnership with Honda. I’ve trained hard over the winter, and I’m absolutely itching to get going in the new McLarenHonda MP4-30. “It’s been interesting to spend time in the factory during the past few weeks: you can really sense a feeling of reignited optimism and positivity around the building. I’ve never seen such motivation amongst the guys – we’re all massively keen to get going in Jerez and to work hard on developing our new car. But we’re under no illusion that it will be easy – there’s a huge challenge ahead of us to try to pull back the gap to our rivals, but we’re certainly up for it. We ended last season with great momentum and clear progress, and I’m determined to carry that forward into 2015. “I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Fernando [Alonso], and I’m confident that our joint experience on track will pay dividends in our development race to get our team back to the front of the grid. I’m hugely motivated to make more history in this new McLaren-Honda era.”

Fernando Alonso said: “Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season. I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season. “Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership. We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together. My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal. “Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development. Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package. It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career. I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car. “Last but not least, I’m excited to be sitting alongside Jenson [Button], a great team-mate and a very experienced competitor. Together we’ll push the team forward, to learn, to progress, and eventually to achieve the best possible results together. We are ready for the new era.”

Yasuhisa Arai, the Senior Managing Officer of Honda R&D said: “Today is obviously a very exciting day for me and for Honda. It’s not every day that you’re involved in a launch of a new Formula 1 car and a start-up of a new partnership. “As you can see with the new MP4-30, we’ve dedicated ourselves as one team with McLaren to creating a new car that compromises on nothing – either power or aerodynamics. “Yet, in the midst of the excitement, both myself and our engineers are 100 per cent focused in both Sakura and Milton Keynes to prepare for Jerez and beyond. We’re confident that the technology is there, and I’m looking forward to see how it will perform. “We’re about to commence a long season, with numerous challenges, but Honda is determined to face them head-on. After all, we’re here to drive Formula 1’s technology forward and give our fans a thrilling ride.”

McLaren Launch

The much-anticipated McLaren-Honda MP4-30 is rumoured to be the colour black when it is launched on Thursday. It is not yet known whether it will be painted black or in it’s manufactured carbon-fibre look. This could just be a launch-spec colour scheme and may well change in the weeks leading up to the first race at Melbourne in March.

Meanwhile, photos of drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button appeared on Twitter in their race overalls for a campaign for Mobil1. The overalls were predominantly white and were missing the logos for both Hugo Boss, who left for Mercedes at the end of 2014 and Santander. It was presumed that the Spanish bank would upgrade their support for the Woking team in 2015 with the arrival of double World Champion Fernando Alonso. There is still plenty of days and weeks for the McLaren team to find some sponsors to support the #NewEra with Honda

Jenson

Jenson

Fernando

Fernando

Bahrain: Day 3 Analysis

It was Lewis Hamilton who finished the day on top. His time of 1m34.263 was the fastest time of the test so far and was 0.7 seconds quicker than yesterdays pacesetter Magnussen and Jenson Button today. Whilst both the times set by McLaren were completed on the supersoft Pirelli tyre, Hamilton’s time today was done on the soft tyre. This would normally mean there is another few tenths still to come from just the tyre alone. The time will please Mercedes and worry their rivals somewhat. The W05 has looked imperious out on the circuit, out of all the cars it looks best suited to the track and creates little oversteer in comparison to its rivals. The day was not without fault however, the Mercedes team did come across a variety of issues throughout the day and decided to bring it to an early end in the afternoon. They managed 67 laps for the day.

Jenson Button finished up in second place in the McLaren MP4-29. The British driver had a slow start to the day but after the lunchtime period, the team focused on running what appeared to be a race simulation. By the end of the day, Button completed the most laps of anyone with 103 and didn’t suffer any mechanical issues in the desert heat. Button’s race simulation was interrupted by a red flag in the afternoon. However, the Woking team will most likely be looking towards completing another race run reliably for tomorrow with Jenson in the car. It was also announced in the afternoon that Jenson had also got engaged to long term girlfriend Jessica Michibata on February 14th.

Button in the pits

Button in the pits

Next up in third place was the Williams of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian took over from team mate Bottas in the afternoon. The Finn did not complete a lap time in the morning session, but did do 55 laps as he focused on pit stop practices for the Williams team. Massa managed to do a time of 1m37.066 in 60 laps after lunchtime and ran without fault. The biggest strength for Williams at the moment appears to be a very stable and reliable car. The car does look quick and with the help of the Mercedes power unit they are able to run around and complete laps without failure. Bottas completed the most laps at yesterdays test and today the two combined lap counts of the drivers would amount to 115, still the most out of the field. The FW36 looks a strong and reliable competitor.

Esteban Gutierrez completed 96 laps in the Sauber to finish the day in fourth place with a time of 1m37.180, almost three seconds down on Hamilton’s fastest. The Sauber ran without fault all day and the Mexican was able to complete a useful amount of laps and the most for a Ferrari-powered car. After struggling yesterday with electrical problems and on the first day with braking issues, it would appear Sauber are slowly getting to grips with the new car. Sutil takes over tomorrow, where the team will hope to run another reliable day.

Bottas conducts pit stop practice

Bottas conducts pit stop practice

Sergio Perez had a fairly uneventful day in the Force India, the driver did not go for the headline grabbing time that his team mate managed for the first two days of the test. The Mexican finished just a couple of tenths behind the Sauber of Gutierrez and completed 57 laps. He stays in the car for tomorrows test.

Kimi Raikkonen finished the day in sixth place having completed just 44 laps. It was not plain sailing for the Finn, his day was hampered by several telemetry issues in the F14T and he had to spend most of the day in the paddock, walking around in his jeans. Raikkonen is back in the car again tomorrow and the Ferrari team will be hoping for a much better run to understand the car and engine better in preparation for next weeks test.

Daniil Kvyat will be happy to finally get some productive running in the Toro Rosso. The Russian didn’t get many laps in the car in Jerez or on day 1 of the Bahrain test due to reliability problems. He managed 57 laps for the day as he gets to grips with the new machinery for 2014. He will be hoping for better reliability next week at the test. The running today would have been useful to the team however, as like most other Renault-powered outfits, they were forced to run with a significantly lower power map throughout the day.

Kvyat racks up the laps

Kvyat racks up the laps

Pastor Maldonado took over from Grosjean in the Lotus for the third day of the test. Unfortunately the teams wish to do more consistent laps with better reliability did not come to fruition. The car suffered various issues throughout the day, mainly stemming from the electrics and the telemetry sensors on the car. The E22 did manage to complete 26 laps and Maldonado’s quickest time of 1m39.642 put him in 8th and was at least quicker than the Red Bull on the same engine.

Daniel Ricciardo managed 28 laps in the Red Bull, who are still not able to get under the one minute 40 mark, the Australian set a time of 1m40.781. The team wrapped up their day early in the afternoon after they came across a mechanical issue they had not encountered before at set-up change around lunchtime. The team called an early end to their day, in order to get better running for the last day of this weeks test tomorrow. The Renault has been rumoured to be operating with a significant horsepower shortage, estimated to be between 100-150bhp down on the Ferrari’s and the Mercedes’. This is so the cars are able to actually get around the circuit for mileage. The main concern will be how long it will take Renault to ‘up-the-ante’ so their outfits can run competitively.

Max Chilton’s day was over in the first hour after he stopped out on track with an engine problem. The British driver had completed just four laps to finish bottom of the standings. The team needed to take the rear of the car off and decided that there would be no more running for the day. It will come as a blow, as the team desperately need to complete more competitive mileage, especially given that the Caterham’s are circulating the track more often, seemingly without the typical Renault problems. The Caterham pace has also not been too bad. Kobayashi finished high up in the times yesterday and team mate Ericsson took over today and finished the day in tenth, but with a creditable amount of laps, the Swede racked up a massive 98 laps. Ericsson has now completed enough laps to gain his FIA Superlicense.

Tomorrow is the last of the test for the week.

Bahrain: Lewis leads day 3

Lewis Hamilton ended Day 3 of the Bahrain test on top of the time sheets. The time of 1m34.263 is the quickest time of the test so far, it was a couple of tenths faster than Kevin Magnussen’s time set yesterday in the McLaren. Jenson Button finished the day in second place, with a time of 1m34.976, seven tenths down on the pace setter. Felipe Massa took over from team mate Bottas in the afternoon, the Finn spent the morning completing pit stop practices for his team, without setting a time. Massa was 2.8 seconds down the fastest time with a 1m37.066.

Next up in fourth was the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez, the Mexican set a time of 1m37.180 and completed 96 laps. Countryman Perez was behind in fifth with a time of 1m37.367 in the Force India. The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen took sixth place with a time 1m37.476, the Finn spent most of the day in the garage whilst the team resolved some issues with the F14T. 

Daniil Kvyat managed to get some laps in the Toro Rosso, the Russian’s best time of 1m38.974 was enough for seventh place. Pastor Maldonado followed in eighth place with a 1m39.642. It was the Venezuelan’s first time in the E22 and he was unable to complete as many laps as he would have hoped after the team came across various telemetry issues throughout the day.

The Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo finished in ninth place with a time of 1m40.781. The Red Bull team called an end to their day in the afternoon after coming across a mechanical issue they had not dealt with before. The Australian will be hoping for more laps and better reliability tomorrow. Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham completed 98 laps, the most of any Renault-powered car. The Swede set a lap time of 1m42.130, which was almost 8 seconds off Hamilton’s pace. Finally Max Chilton finished the day in last place. The Marussia came to a halt with an engine problem an hour into the session and never made it back out again. The British driver only completed 4 laps for the day.