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McLaren hit by more Honda engine issues as F1 testing resumes

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McLaren’s difficult start to the 2017 Formula 1 season continued on Tuesday in Barcelona after being forced to change the Honda power unit on the MCL32 car once again.

McLaren entered 2017 hoping to bounce back from two difficult seasons since switching to Honda power, with the rekindled partnership yet to yield a single podium finish.

Honda looked to make gains by redesigning the layout of its power unit for 2017, only for a number of issues to arise across the course of the first pre-season test in Barcelona last week.

McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne could only complete 208 laps over the four days of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the second-lowest of any team.

After conducting a filming day between the tests, McLaren returned to the track on Tuesday for the resumption of collective running, only for an electrical issue to hit Vandoorne during the morning, limiting the Belgian to 34 laps in total.

“We detected an electrical issue with the PU 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,” a Honda spokesperson confirmed to NBC Sports.

“The PU we are using today is the same spec as the PU run last week at test one.”

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.