Fernando Alonso enjoyed a productive day in Barcelona on Friday as the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 completed its best mileage of the winter testing period so far.
Alonso finished seventh in the final standings, 1.3 seconds down on Daniel Ricciardo’s P1 lap time, but with 59 laps under his belt he managed to learn plenty about the new car after managing just 38 in total at the last test in Jerez.
“Definitely we had a better day today,” Alonso said. “We started running at 9am and finished running at 5:45pm, which is good news finally. We could test some of the potential of the car finally and complete some laps, and check some systems that we could not before.
“Every lap we do we learn things, we discover new things, so we are in a very early phase of the development of the car. It’s definitely very interesting and very challenging for all of us because it’s a completely new project.”
Alonso even went as far as calling the day “beautiful”, but said that progress does need to be made by the team in the remaining six days of testing before the start of the season in Melbourne next month.
“Everyone in the team is so excited about the McLaren-Honda partnership again,” Alonso said. “It has been a beautiful day for me, driving the car and exploring some of the potential.
“Obviously we are running with some limitations still on the engine, but definitely the car felt better than Jerez. Every lap is a learning process and I think we are enjoying this.
“Six days done, six days to go, and we need to make some progress. We are happy with today, but we know we did the lowest number of laps of the teams today.”
Jenson Button will return to the wheel of the MP4-30 in Jerez on Saturday, with Alonso rounding out the second test on Sunday.