Tag: McLaren

F1: Jenson Button secures McLaren seat alongside Fernando Alonso

Jenson Button is to partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren next season.

The team are to announce their driver line-up at a news conference at their factory in Surrey on Thursday.

But BBC Sport has learned they have decided to retain Button after weeks of leaning towards Kevin Magnussen.

Button, the 34-year-old 2009 world champion, will continue into a 16th season and has his wish granted to test himself against the man widely regarded as the best in F1.

McLaren signed Alonso some weeks ago, but had been vacillating over the identity of his team-mate.

Chairman Ron Dennis had been keen to retain Magnussen, 22, but the continuing delays over making a decision have tipped the balance back in favour of Button.

The two were evenly matched for pure pace in 2014, with Button out-qualifying the novice 10-9 in 19 races.

The Englishman scored more than twice as many points as Dane Magnussen over the season.

McLaren had intended to retain Magnussen, who finished second on his F1 debut in this year’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, on the basis that the team’s data had suggested he was fractionally quicker and had youth and promise on his side.

But Button’s strong finish to the season, his experience and perhaps unrest at boardroom level over Dennis’s position has influenced the team to go the other way.

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Magnussen, who ended the season on 55 points compared to Button’s tally of 126, may be retained as reserve driver for 2015.

McLaren, as well as representatives of both Button and Magnussen, were unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

The farrago over the identity of the team’s second driver has detracted from the impact of McLaren’s signing of double world champion Alonso.

This is quite a coup considering his standing in the sport and the fact McLaren have succeeded in luring him away from Ferrari.

Ferrari had their least successful season for 21 years in 2014 but still finished ahead of McLaren, largely thanks to the efforts of Alonso.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: McLaren looks set to announce 2015 driver line-up

McLaren appears to be ready to announce its 2015 driver line-up on Thursday after calling a media event at its factory in Woking.

Fernando Alonso is expected to be named alongside either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen, putting an end to weeks of speculation about the team’s line-up. McLaren initially planned to announce its 2015 drivers ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi, but then said it would postpone its decision until December.

The team has invited the press to “an important and exclusive media event” but did not mention the specific purpose. However, with pressure growing on the team to make a decision on the futures of Button and Magnussen, it is likely to be the long-awaited driver announcement.

On Friday last week McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said a decision would be made with the long-term future of the team in mind.

“I know there are a lot of fans, Jenson’s fans, Kevin’s fans, other drivers’ fans and hopefully some McLaren fans, but it is just about taking the right decision for the future, not only for next year but also for the next years,” he told Sky Sports.

Read more at ESPN

Le Mans: Alonso won’t be able to combine F1 and Le Mans in 2015

There are some contractual complications with McLaren and Honda on Fernando’s way to Le Mans.

Fernando Alonso is unlikely to be able to squeeze the Le Mans 24 Hours into his 2015 schedule, despite trying hard to convince McLaren to allow him to do the race.

Alonso attended this year’s 24 Hours and the recent Bahrain WEC event, and encouraged by friend Mark Webber he has been actively trying to find a seat – with Porsche his main target. The former World Champion was attracted by the idea of being the first F1 superstar in decades to try to fit the race into his regular schedule.

Nico Hulkenberg has been able to agree such an arrangement with Force India, but unsurprisingly for Alonso there are added contractual complications with McLaren and Honda.

While the Japanese manufacturer is perhaps less concerned about its star driver appearing for Porsche, as opposed to a direct market rival such as Toyota, Nissan or Audi, McLaren’s own status as a supercar maker has complicated matters. There are also questions over clashes of partners such as Pirelli and Michelin.

Read more at motorsport.com

F1: Test ‘not good enough’ but McLaren learns from issues

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admits his team’s struggle to get its new Honda power unit up and running in Abu Dhabi was “not good enough”, but said there were some positives to draw from the two day test.

Over 18 hours of track time, McLaren successfully completed three laps and came up short on two more due to on-track issues. The team’s main problems were electrical and on its final attempt on Wednesday afternoon the car came to halt on the first lap of a four-lap run.

“It was still an electrical issue,” Boullier said. “We fixed a couple of them overnight and today and on the first installation lap the car ran quite well and with no problem at all. When hitting the track again on a longer run the car just blacked out completely.

“It happens to some different cars this year and sometimes nobody know why, so we had this problem. We just brought the car back and after investigating for 20 minutes we couldn’t wake the car up again, so we just said ‘stop’. The car will now be sent back to Woking for a full investigation.”

Boullier admitted McLaren’s two day test has not met expectations, but said it was better to get the issues out of the way this week instead of encountering them at the first test of 2015 in Jerez.

“It’s obviously not what we wanted to achieve. Our target was to run the car on track, to run all the systems, and we were not expecting here to develop anything other than trying all the systems. We didn’t achieve this, so we failed on this.

“Yes, it’s a still a bonus because going into such a test in Jerez and having the same problems would hurt us much more. At least both Honda and McLaren have worked very hard to make this hybrid car and come here. Operationally we went through a lot and when we were not running, we were dismantling the car in multiple parts and at least we learned a lot about processes and what could be wrong in the future.

“Yes, it’s not good enough and we are not happy with that, but at least we learned things which are important to be prepared for the next one.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: McLaren intends to use Honda power at Abu Dhabi test

McLaren is planning on completing its first official test with its Honda power unit during the two days of testing following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Honda power unit ran for the first time during a filming day at Silverstone last week, but under the sporting regulations could only complete 100km for marketing or promotional purposes. The Abu Dhabi test offers the team a chance to put the power unit through its paces in the back of an interim car designed specifically to house the Honda V6 turbo.

“We are now only a few days away from formally commencing our exciting technical partnership with Honda, and, subject to satisfactory final bench-testing, it is currently our intention to run our interim development car, the McLaren MP4-29H/1X1, on the test days that will follow the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” a team statement said.

2015 will mark a new era for McLaren as it not only joins forces with Honda but it also completes the restructuring of its senior management and technical team. Since last season, McLaren has undergone big changes, chief among them Martin Whitmarsh leaving as team principal and Ron Dennis retaking control of the team. It has also recruited Eric Boullier from Lotus as racing director and Red Bull aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou to help head up its design team.

“We are working extremely hard to ensure that every element of our competitive package for 2015 and beyond is specified to the fullest extent,” the team added. “We have spent the past nine months comprehensively recruiting and restructuring within our design and engineering departments; over the next few days we will be evaluating and trialling a range of aerodynamic upgrades for the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and for the 2015 Formula One season.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: McLaren’s Honda engine to make track debut

McLaren will run Honda’s new V6 turbo engine for the first time at a filming day at Silverstone on Friday.

Honda will join forces with McLaren in F1 next year, reuniting a partnership that won four titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Honda returns to the sport one year after its rivals switched from V8 engines to V6 turbos and has been eager to put some track mileage on its new power unit.

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McLaren has been working on an interim car designed to house the new engine – known as the MP4-29H – and is now ready to hit the track. The Silverstone filming day will only offer limited mileage but a further opportunity to run the car will come at the post-season Abu Dhabi test in two weeks.

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Running at filming days is limited to 100km and should be used “purely for marketing or promotional purposes”, according to the sporting regulations.

Read more at ESPN