Fernando Alonso: McLaren already has 'fundamental answers' amid issues
Fernando Alonso has emphasised that McLaren’s problems during testing are minor, and that it has gathered all of the essential data and information it requires, amid a series of problems.
After a disrupted opening couple of days last week, owing to a wheel nut issue and an exhaust clip failure, McLaren boosted its mileage with a productive final day of the first test.
However, Stoffel Vandoorne completed only 38 laps on Tuesday, stopping three times, twice due to a loss of electrical power and once because of a hydraulic issue.
Alonso took over testing duties on Wednesday and amassed 47 laps in the first two hours of running, though was stymied by an oil leak, which halted his MCL33 midway through the morning session.
Alonso’s car required an engine change, and the Spaniard did not appear until the first 15 minutes of running, as he added only a handful of laps to his tally
As a result, McLaren has completed just 95 laps this week, compared to 352 for Mercedes, and has slumped to the bottom of the cumulative mileage charts across the six days of running.
“At the end of the day we discovered things – yesterday with Stoffel and today with myself,” he said.
“But this is part of testing and hopefully these things won’t happen in lap 10 in Melbourne. So in a way I’m happy to keep making the car stronger and stronger.
“All the important parts and all the important things in the programme we managed to do in the morning, so the rest of the day was going to be about long runs and putting laps on the car but we did not need any information at that time. So I am not too stressed about the laps we lost today.”
Expanding further on the situation, Alonso commented: “I think this is more or less normal in every new car, maybe you are new to this, but I am 18 years in and in winter testing I keep discovering things every year.
“It is the same not only in winter testing but before when testing was free we would test in between races like before Monaco and Canada going to Paul Ricard and doing 20 laps a day and there was no coverage.
“Now I understand we have hundreds of media so every red flag attracts a lot of attention but from a team point of view we are more or less okay and there is nothing fundamentally a problem with the car.
“The issues we had are well under control but unfortunately we keep discovering small things every day.
“That is putting us in a strong position for Australia in the way we can enforce these small issues. As I said before it is better it happen here than in two weeks’ time.
Alonso added that he and McLaren would be sufficiently prepared if the Australian Grand Prix was taking place imminently.
“Probably we need the last day to do some laps, some long runs, to check extra things that you always discover about the new car,” he said.
“But in terms of fundamental answers that we need over the winter test, they are already OK and we have all of them, so I don’t need the last day to be honest.
“I will be in the car, I will drive – hopefully we will keep discovering new things on the car – but if Australia was tomorrow it’s OK.”