McLaren hit by more Honda engine issues as F1 testing resumes

Getty Images

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.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.