Formula One Team McLaren has finally managed to eke out the performance it so desperately needed to show – but it isn’t sure how it did it.
After weeks of unreliability and power issues, the old McLaren managed to make an appearance during the Wednesday Bahrain test. The team saw its driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, complete 81 laps around the Bahrain circuit and place a fourth-highest lap speed. A far cry from the kind of dead-in-the-water performances we’d been seeing from the team throughout the season.
While their uncovered performance is injecting a well-needed amount of good vibes and positive outlooks, the team now finds itself dumbfounded at what caused the surge in performance in their cars. McLaren racing director Eric Boullier commented on the situation, saying that he could find no explanations for what had occurred:
“If we knew…this is the problem, I don’t know. Everything has worked perfectly.
We are even actually pushing a little bit in terms of settings, trying to use the opportunity, and everything is working.
This is a proper test today, everything you plan you can test it and do back to back so it’s very good.” – Eric Boullier
While Boullier wasn’t able to offer a concrete answer, that didn’t upset McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne – who was just happy to see himself back in the seat of a competitive car once more:
“I think it’s the first time that we’ve had a day without any big problems where we could get on with our program.
I think we more or less completed everything we wanted to, and we went through so much set up stuff that we should have done in Barcelona.
So it’s been a very productive day and I’m happy that we’ve managed to do so many laps today after a difficult day yesterday, when it wasn’t looking great.
I am very pleased with the amount of laps we’ve done also for the team. It’s not been an easy week after a double header, then coming into the test with these issues the team have been working flat out. They’ve done a very good job to get the car out on track every time.” – Stoffel Vandoorne
Vandoorne is no doubt pleased that he could see himself live up to his nickname of “The Flying Waffle” once again, and Honda are sure to be wiping a bit of sweat off their brow as their car hasn’t been the subject of negative remarks for once this season.
Formula One needs a competitive McLaren team, there have been flashes of brilliance from Alonso in a few races so far this season, highlighting that when the car is at least alive, it can fight in the midfield. If the team can get on top of reliability, they can start to explore the MCL32 at a more advanced rate and start setting up the car in a less conservative trim, which should bring further performance. Let’s hope this isn’t a red herring, and McLaren can swiftly get back on the road of recovery – It’s a long season.