With pre-season testing having concluded last week in Barcelona all eyes are now fully focused on Melbourne in two weeks time. Mclaren Honda’s performance in testing was a vast improvement compared to their 2015 preparation, with the team achieving eclipsing total pre-season running from 2015 in a single day as they prepare the MP4-31.
Despite this huge step forward the team remain some way off the pace, reliability, and consistency of their competitors. Mercedes AMG Petronas completed in excess of 6000Km over 8 days, all of which was a achieved on a single power unit. Mclaren Honda by contrast managed 3300KM over the same period, and worked through 3 power units.
The use of multiple power units may have been a deliberate strategy by the team to experiment with new components, but this coupled with a mid field performance when it comes to out right pace suggests that Mclaren Honda fans are set for another testing year. It is true the team are making progress and both Mclaren and Honda have always been keen to stress success will take time, but questions from drivers around the true ability for the project to succeed can not be far away.
Honda have confirmed that the power unit specification used in the final pre-season test was close to that which will be used in Melbourne with only minor changes for reliability and tuning expected. Neither of which will impact the performance of the ICE.