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McLaren: No fundamental issues with Honda F1 power unit design

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has insisted that there are no fundamental issues with Honda’s new Formula 1 power unit design despite a number of issues arising during testing earlier this week.

McLaren enters the 2017 F1 campaign hopeful of returning to the podium, having not recorded a top-three finish since linking up with Honda at the start of 2015.

Power unit issues blighted McLaren for much of the 2015 campaign before progress was made last year, with the British team finishing sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Such progress led to hopes that 2017 could yield even better results, only for McLaren to lose hours of track time through the first pre-season test due to issues with Honda’s power unit.

The Japanese manufacturer has changed the layout of its power unit for 2017, but Boullier insists that the issues experienced during testing are not set to blight McLaren’s entire season.

“It is fixable, but it was not the plan to have these issues,” Boullier said, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“They are not really serious, as there are no fundamental issues with the design.”

Having seen drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne manage just 208 laps in total – by comparison, mileage leader Mercedes managed 558 – Boullier conceded that McLaren’s expectations for the first test had not been met.

“We had slightly higher expectations coming to Barcelona, but then the week didn’t start exactly as we wanted,” Boullier said.

“I think there is a bit more work to be done in Japan to investigate why we had those issues: issues that we absolutely did not expect to have – and for sure neither did Honda.”

Boullier added that McLaren was in “a much better situation” than at this point in 2015 or 2016, but conceded: “It is not good enough for our expectations and the expectations of our fans after three years.

“Honda are still three years behind in time to the others. Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari started in 2010 – and all these three started with an existing organization, as all three were already doing F1 engines

“In 2013 Honda decided to come back to Formula One and started from scratch: empty buildings! They had to buy everything and find the right people.

“So to be fair you have manufacturers who had seven years and are still struggling, and Honda started four years after the others.

“These units are so complicated that you have to be really process driven and go step by step.

“Unfortunately there is no short cut.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”