JAPANESE engine manufacturer Honda said it “is feeling sorry” for the engine troubles that ruined the first preseason test at Barcelona last week for McLaren Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
The McLaren program was never able to get off the ground with the MCL32 suffering oil tank issues on Monday, and then complete engine failure on Tuesday.
After Tuesday’s breakdown, Honda F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa offered an apology of sorts to McLaren’s pilots.
“Obviously we are not happy to have trouble, but this is a test – and we are feeling sorry for both drivers,” Hasegawa said. “So, we need to find out what has happened in the day two engine especially.”
Honda will have to work quickly, because the engine configured for the season opener in Melbourne is due to run in the next stage of testing this week.
“We didn’t know the exact cause of the problem of yesterday’s [Tuesday’s] engine, but so far we didn’t change anything,” Hasegawa told reporters.
“Because we don’t know the cause of the problem we can’t tell, but I believe we can solve the issue.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier made no attempt to disguise his consternation with Honda’s problems, but tried to put an optimistic face on the situation in his comments to the press.
“We have many issues,” he said. “None of them are fundamental – we don’t know yet, even Hasegawa-san, all of them, because yesterday’s engine is on its way to Japan.
“Today [Wednesday] finally we can run, so we have some usual glitches, the ones you get on day one, but obviously we have them on day three.
“It is a new layout of the engine from Honda and obviously some unexpected glitches but nothing is fundamental.”
Hasegawa did say that Honda engineers had worked out the initial oil tank issue, and had made a temporary fix to alleviate any immediate worries.
“So far we can live with the current modified oil tank, but obviously through the season we always try to improve the system,” he said.