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Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Vandoorne to replace unfit Alonso in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso will not participate in the Bahrain Grand Prix on medical grounds following his accident in Australia, with McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne set to deputise. Alonso suffered a high-speed crash after hitting Esteban Gutierrez and was deemed unfit by FIA doctors during a routine medical check-up at Sakhir. Vandoorne dominated last year's GP2 Series, securing the title with two rounds to spare, and will now fly in from Japan, where he was conducting pre-season testing ahead of a campaign in Super Formula. "Following […]

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Alonso gets new power unit for Bahrain

Honda has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will receive a new power unit for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, following his sizeable accident at the season-opening race in Australia. Alonso struck Haas' Esteban Gutierrez at Turn 3 and was pitched into a roll across the gravel, with his McLaren suffering substantial damage. Honda had been optimistic of being able to salvage some parts but the manufacturer has now confirmed that Alonso's MP4-31 will be fitted with a brand new unit this weekend. "We have recovered the […]

Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Alonso absolves Gutierrez of blame for clash

Fernando Alonso believes he is lucky to be alive after walking away from a high-speed accident in Australia, and has absolved Esteban Gutierrez of blame. Alonso clipped the back of Gutierrez on the approach of Turn 3 and slammed into the wall, before his McLaren was tipped into a roll across the gravel. Alonso walked away from the wreckage of his car and was given the all-clear after a quick trip to the medical centre. "No, I don’t think so," he said when asked if […]

Posted on Saturday, March 19, 2016

McLaren duo encouraged by progress

Fernando Alonso says McLaren can target a double points finish at the Australian Grand Prix after surprising itself with the level of performance from the MP4-31. McLaren endured a dismal 2015 campaign but Alonso and Jenson Button collected 12th and 13th during qualifying at Albert Park, with the pair only a few tenths shy of the top 10. "The car was fantastic today," said Alonso. "I felt very comfortable and very happy with the performance of the car all weekend. We didn’t expect to be […]

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2016

Alonso pleased by McLaren progress

Fernando Alonso says he was pleased by McLaren's progress during practice for the Australian Grand Prix, in spite of the wet weather conditions. Alonso, who sat out the 2015 event in Australia due to an injury sustained in a pre-season testing accident, finished in sixth spot during the late afternoon session, which was affected by persistent rain. "I think we’re feeling quite happy after today," he said. "It’s nice to be back here in Melbourne: sometimes, when you come away from testing and go to […]

Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2016

McLaren yet to run full 2016 specification

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier believes that the outfit can still make progress, as it did not run its full 2016 specification during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Having been beset by reliability issues during the build-up to an ultimately dismal 2015 campaign, McLaren and Honda enjoyed a smoother preparation period this year, though did not trouble the leading times across eight days of running. However, the outfit was regularly in the mix and achieved encouraging mileage, leading Boullier to believe that more […]

Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Alonso slams Formula 1 uncertainty, complexity

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has hit out at the uncertainty regarding the 2016 qualifying regulations, and has criticised the complexity of the sport. The Strategy Group and F1 Commission approved plans last week to make qualifying a live knockout format, though Bernie Ecclestone later said the system would not be introduced until the Spanish Grand Prix. Several alternative amended formats have been suggested this week, with a final decision set to be confirmed when the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meets on Friday. Alonso says […]

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Button hails 'biggest' Honda step so far

McLaren driver Jenson Button has hailed the improvement Honda has made to its power unit after he sampled the upgraded MP4-31 for the first time in testing on Wednesday. A new specification Honda power unit, allied to fuel gains from supplier Mobil 1, was used by McLaren at the start of the second test and Button returned to action on day two, when he set the fifth fastest time. Button believes that McLaren is now in a position to focus on performance, after spending substantial […]

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2016

McLaren 'definitely ahead' compared to 2015

McLaren director of engineering Matt Morris maintains the outfit is "definitely ahead" compared to where it was in 2015, despite a disrupted final day of testing in Spain. Fernando Alonso was able to complete only three installation laps, at which point McLaren detected a coolant leak, which required the majority of the afternoon, and he was not able to return to the circuit. However, McLaren is optimistic that it has made good progress across the opening week of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. "Unfortunately, […]

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Alonso targets best chassis by European races

Fernando Alonso believes McLaren has the potential to have the best chassis by the time the European season begins in May, having sampled the MP4-31 for the first time. McLaren slumped to ninth in the 2015 standings amid reliability and performance issues but Alonso was able to rack up over 100 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Alonso ended the day in ninth position, but spent substantial time evaluting "not very exciting" aspects such as "aerodynamic studies, reliability, brake temperature, water temperature." While expecting Mercedes, […]

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arai to be replaced as Honda F1 boss

Yasuhisa Arai will step down from his role as Honda's Formula 1 boss next week, having been moved to a different role within the Japanese corporation. Arai has been Honda's motorsport boss since the manufacturer returned to Formula 1 as engine supplier to McLaren, though the partnership endured a troublesome 2015 and placed only ninth in the standings. Effective March 1, Arai will be replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa while a new role has been created to oversee the entire project, with Honda confirming Yoshiyuki Matsumoto […]

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2016

Button positive regarding energy deployment

Jenson Button hailed a positive first day with the MP4-31 and noted the vast improvements made regarding the energy deployment available from the Honda engine. McLaren was plagued by a lack of performance and reliability in 2015 but the Briton was able to complete 84 laps on the opening day of pre-season testing in Spain. A late lap of 1:26.735 on the Soft tyres enabled Button to finish sixth in the standings. "Today has been all about system checks and trying new things – there […]