McLaren: ECU not to blame for Webber’s poor start

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McLaren have hit back at Christian Horner’s claim their Electronic Control Unit was to blame for Mark Webber’s poor start in the Australian Grand Prix.

Webber dropped five places as he struggled to get off the line in yesterday’s race.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed a fault on the Electronic Control Unit for the problem. The ECU is a standard part used by all the teams and manufactured by McLaren Electronic Systems.

“Mark’s problems were hugely frustrating because it was an ECU issue, said Horner after the race. “You need to ask McLaren why the ECU didn’t work and why it messed up his preparation because he was blind and had no telemetry.”

“It is something they need to get on top of because it caused a lot of issues during testing.”

However MES managing director Peter van Manen denied the fault originated with the ECU:

“There was an issue with Mark Webber’s data system in the garage during the formation lap. The ECU on the car was fine,” he said.

“We regret any disruption caused to Mark’s preparations for the start of the race and will continue to work with the team to prevent any recurrence.”

Webber’s slow getaway dropped him from second to seventh immediately, and he was only able to recover to sixth by the end of the race. Watch his start from onboard the car in this video:

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Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”