McLaren-Honda struggles continue in F1 testing at Barcelona
Only Manor complete fewer laps with MP4-31 four seconds off pace
Last Updated: 05/03/16 10:56am
Hopes for a McLaren-Honda breakthrough this winter appear to have been dashed after the team completed just 250 laps in the first pre-season test.
After a hydraulic fault sparked a small fire on Jenson Button's car on Wednesday, team-mate Fernando Alonso was restricted to a trifling three laps on the final day of the first test at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The team's total of 257 was the second lowest of any outfit, McLaren completely just three laps more than Manor, despite the team prioritising work on the reliability of the MP4-31 through the first four of only eight days of pre-season running.
In stark contrast, world champions Mercedes completed 675 laps and over 1950 miles during the four days of testing.
The fastest time set this week by either McLaren was a lap of 1:26.082 on soft tyres by Alonso on Day Two which still left the eight-time constructors' champions four seconds adrift of the lead pace.
After Ron Dennis, the McLaren chief executive, admitted that a sabbatical for the two-time world champion was possible, Alonso insisted after Tuesday's running he would see out his three-year contract with the team.
Pre-season continues with the second and final test next week in Barcelona when the pressure on McLaren to produce both mileage and pace will be acute.
"We should have a better idea about the competitive order next week," team boss Eric Boullier told Sky Sports News HQ. "There will also be upgrades from Honda towards what should be towards the definitive 2016 homologation."
Sparking fears that McLaren's engine providers, who endured a torrid season in 2015 after returning to the sport, had failed to find a solution to their problems over the winter, Honda announced earlier this week that their F1 boss Yasuhisa Arai would stand down next month.
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