McLaren Honda are aiming to score their first points of the 2015 season next time at the Spanish Grand Prix which takes place at the Circuit De Catalunya in three weeks.
The Woking based outfit had a difficult race in Bahrain last weekend where Jenson Button could only complete 17 laps and was unable to start the race which was his 100th start for the team. The 2009 world champion’s 100th Grand Prix start for McLaren will now come in Spain.
Speaking following the race Button stated:
‘Obviously, that was a disappointing day to end a disappointing weekend.
“However, although I was unable to get the running I required, and was also unable to make the start of today’s race at all, it’s clear that our car is improving, and that’s good news for all of us.
“That’s a result of a lot of hard work. In particular, I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the boys in the garage, who worked unbelievably hard all weekend for so little reward. Their commitment and team spirit are massively impressive, and I know we’ll get the rewards they deserve in the end.”
Fernando Alonso had a better race for the Woking based outfit. The Spaniard started the race from 14th place on the grid and went on to finish the race in 11th just outside the points. The double world champion said after the race that it would be the last time that the outfit will finish a race outside the points.
Following the Grand Prix Alonso stated:
“We weren’t quite fast enough to get into the top 10, but we finished the race and got a bit more valuable experience with the car, which had been our main objective.
“Everything worked fine on my side of the garage, but unfortunately Jenson couldn’t start the race. We need to look at many things before the Spanish Grand Prix, and we have three weeks in which to increase our performance and improve our reliability. There’s a lot of work ahead, but we’re optimistic.
“It’s clear that we’re all committed to this project and to doing all we can to bring about our eventual comeback. The whole team is united and everyone is hugely motivated by the challenge ahead. Hopefully, we can build on what we’ve achieved so far, and see further improvements over the next few races.”
The McLaren Honda team have yet to score points this season and the outfit go into the next race, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in three weeks with a power unit upgrade from Honda while the MP4-30 will also feature a number of upgrades to the chassis. Speaking following Sunday’s race McLaren Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier commented:
“Fernando drove hard and well all afternoon, in difficult and frustrating circumstances, and almost scored our first world championship point of the season.
“In the end he finished 11th. Although that isn’t an achievement that’s likely to tempt us to start popping champagne corks, nonetheless, following our first appearance of the year in Q2 yesterday, it clearly demonstrates that things are going in the right developmental direction.
“Having said that, we’d love to have been able to put on a better show for our Bahraini colleagues and friends, whose Grand Prix has been as resounding a success as ever.
“As for Jenson, his wretched luck continued today. The team had worked prodigiously hard to try to ready his car for the race after his technical issues yesterday, but, sadly, during the fire-up we noticed data that indicated an unresolved issue originating from the electrical glitches that had struck during the practice sessions yesterday and the day before.
“We believed that there was a significant likelihood that the issue would recur in running, and would indeed eventually scupper Jenson’s race. We tried our best to fix it but, sadly, we weren’t able to find a remedy in time for the start.
“That’s disappointing for all of us, and particularly for Jenson, but that’s racing; these things happen, and we’ll live to fight another day.
“As we enter the European season, it seems a good time to take stock of our state of play generally. During the first four fly-away races of the year – Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain – we’ve steadily improved our car via a series of developments, the result of which has been a palpable and linear upward trend in performance. The next race, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is three weeks hence, which affords us time sufficient in which to prepare further upgrades. We’ll make no predictions as to where they’ll place us, pace-wise, relative to our chief current competitors, but we expect that upward trend in performance to remain linear and palpable.
“Clearly, we aren’t satisfied with our level of competitiveness – our team exists to win – but we’ve made gargantuan strides since the Australian Grand Prix and that’s been a result of a tremendous effort by a large number of people, all of whose passion and commitment I hereby take the opportunity to salute.
“I believe the way we’ve approached the task in hand has been characterised by honesty, humility and hard graft, and that’s how we’ll continue to approach it.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we still have a mountain to climb, but climb it we will; of that you may be 100 per cent certain.”
Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer – Chief Officer Of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai commented on the Bahrain Grand Prix by saying:
Today, Fernando was so close to finishing in a points-paying position, which is another positive step forward for us.
“Day by day, I can truly see the progress being made, and I’m confident in the continuing work we’re doing. Of course, it was extremely unfortunate that Jenson’s car had electrical issues this weekend and he was unable to race, but we’re confident we can resolve them.“Now that the first four races of the season are complete, we have a short break to further improve. We’ll be preparing fiercely for the first European race, in Spain. And in particular we’ll be concentrating on competitiveness and reliability.”
© Ben Johnston 2015