FIRST DAY TROUBLES: McLaren has tested its new engine supplier Honda on track in Abu Dhabi ahead of the 2015 season. Things did not go as planned. Image: AFP / Marwan Naamani
ABU DHABI, UAE - McLaren Formula 1 supremo Ron Dennis has played down suggestions that Honda's 2015 engine programme is running behind schedule.
There's been a filming day at Silverstone in England already but the interim Honda-powered McLaren only had its first true test day at post-2014 F1 GP Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (Nov 25 2014).
Young tester Stoffel Vandoorne was driving but the day's programme did not go to plan.
GOOD DAY OUT?
The car - notably featuring extra cooling vents - spent an entire morning in the garage and then broke down, eventually not completing even one timed lap. Nevertheless, the British team said "the day was "positive".
Boss Eric Boullier was reported to have added: "Running a modern F1 car is a very complicated procedure and this week's test was all about how the departments at Sakura (Japan) and Milton Keynes and Woking (plants in England) learned to work with the operational hub at the circuit."
McLaren supremo Ron Dennis was also confident that, after two consecutive disappointing seasons, the McLaren-Honda would be strong when the 2015 season started. He also denied that the team's new works partner was running behind schedule.
"Teams only started testing their cars for the 2014 regulations in February," Dennis said in an interview with Brazil's Globo Esporte, "but we're running the Honda power unit already, before winter testing.
"As a team and with Honda, we understand the challenges of these new power units and I'm in a position to say we will be strong."
20 'VERY ABLE' ENGINEERS
He was also confident that McLaren would produce a better car than it raced in 2013 and 2014. "You have to realise that the group which designed the 2015 car is completely different to the one that did the previous two."
He said 20 "very able" new engineers had joined McLaren, among them Red Bull's aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou, and 50 roles had been restructured.
He ended: "We believe we have set the direction that will allow us to start the next championship on a very high level."