By Daniel Wilson.
McLaren’s pre-season preparations continued to be problematic as the team suffered numerous reliability issues at the second F1 test in Barcelona.
Fernando Alonso crashed into the wall at the demanding turn three at the Circuit de Catalunya shortly before the lunch break on the final day, bringing a premature end to McLaren’s second test.
The team confirmed that Alonso was uninjured after the 150mph impact saw the Spanish driver airlifted to hospital as a precaution.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, it’s as you were for Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams who continued to impress as they all racked up the laps and showed good reliability.
However, as in Jerez, we seem no closer to finding out where teams are in terms of raw pace and how much of an advantage the world champions have over the field.
Ferrari’s speed continued to impress, but the team have played down their testing form. Meanwhile, Lotus so far seem to have put themselves in a better position than in 2014 as their Mercedes engine saw Pastor Maldonado top the time sheets on Saturday with teammate Romain Grosjean impressing on Sunday.
Force India were also back in action for the first time in 2015, although delays to their new car meant their running was with last year’s machine, so performance is largely irrelevant.
However, even for Mercedes, things haven’t been all plain sailing. Lewis Hamilton withdrew from the first day of testing after completing just 11 laps as illness affected his racing career for the first time. Nico Rosberg was also unable to take over on Thursday, leaving their test driver to complete the day’s programme.
So we haven’t learnt an awful lot in Barcelona. McLaren-Honda have the most work to do before Melbourne, while their competitors work their way through testing with few problems. The teams only have one more test at the track next week to try and learn everything they need to know before they head to Australia in three weeks.
What now for McLaren-Honda?
Is their season finished before its started?
Is Ferrari’s pace impressive or is it unrepresentative?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!