McLaren sidelined by electrical issues on first day of testing

1 Comment

Aiming to bounce back from one of its worst seasons in recent memory, McLaren didn’t get going on the right foot today in Formula One testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. In fact, they didn’t get going at all.

Electrical issues plagued the team’s new MP4-29 (pictured, from last week’s launch) and ultimately caused their entire plan for the day to be scratched.

Following overnight work, they expect to have their veteran driver, former World Champion Jenson Button, in the car tomorrow for what they surely hope will be a smoother outing.

For your perusal, here’s the full statement from the team:

“Today was a challenging start to the MP4-29’s test and development program. Along with other teams, we faced difficulties readying our new car for the first winter test of 2014.

Despite firing up successfully at the [McLaren Technology Centre] last week, the car was predominantly affected by electrical issues during the day. The subsequent dismantling, inspection and re-installation of several major components ultimately meant we were unable to conduct any running today.

What’s next: We’re re-installing key systems on the car overnight, with the expectation that Jenson will begin the car’s installation program tomorrow.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne