McLAREN STRUGGLES: McLaren's Fernando Alonso managed 32 laps before an engine issue ended his test session at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Will the team resolve its woes in Barcelona? Image: AP / Miguel Morenatti
LONDON, England - McLaren-Honda may still be struggling to make progress ahead of the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season in Australia.
Ahead of the season-opening Melbourne race on March 15, the new collaboration hit the track early in Barcelona, Spain, the second test of the 2015.
Official testing does not start until Thursday (Feb 18) but Jenson Button was in action on Monday (Feb 16) after McLaren booked the track "for a filming day".
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The running of the MP4-30, captured by amateur photographs, seemed to confirm not only that the current silver livery with red flashes is staying for now but that McLaren is entering another championship campaign without a title sponsor.
Team chief Ron Dennis, quoted by Italy's Autosprint, said: "If you consider that title sponsorship is something like 40 or 50% of your budget, then for big budget teams it no longer exists as a concept. We have not abandoned the idea of attracting more money but we do not want to put big names on our car at a low price."
Spectators at Barcelona reported that the new MP4-30 was still struggling to run. Spain's El Mundo Deportivo claimed the car "managed barely half-a-dozen laps" during its "filming day".
Another Spanish daily, AS, quoted observers as saying the car "did two laps all day" while Marca agreed that the 2015 car "showed no clear signs of improvement" since the troubled Jerez test.