By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
McLaren’s miserable start to the 2017 season continued this morning in Barcelona when Honda had to change the engine in Stoffel Vandoorne’s MCL32 after an electrical issue limited the Belgian to just 34 laps in the first session of the day.
The power unit change has taken the place of the afternoon session. It is the third such unscheduled change for McLaren and Honda after only five days of pre-season testing. Last week the team suffered from an oil tank failure and a valve issue which severely limited the number of laps the team could complete.
Honda released the following statement.
“We detected an electrical issue with the PU (power unit) in Stoffel’s car. In the interest of maximizing track time, we opted to replace it and investigate the issue further once the PU is out of the car. The PU we are using today is the same spec as the PU run last week at test one.”
At this point the rumor mill of a fallout between McLaren and their Japanese partners has begun to churn. Team Principal Eric Boullier has dismissed the rumors, reaffirming the partnership, but behind closed doors in Woking tempers will be on edge for the rest of the week.