The speed trap from Chinese Grand Prix qualifying has shown that McLaren’s struggling Honda power unit is extremely, and somewhat shockingly, slow.
In the end, McLaren’s Honda was only 1km/h faster than Max Verstappen’s Renault power unit, which had reportedly suffered a failure of two cylinders.
Both McLaren drivers were also 4km/h slower in the speed trap than Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, which is running Ferrari’s 2016 power unit.
In comparison to the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who was maxing out on the back straight at 328.8km/h in Q3, McLaren could only manage to get their cars peaking at 315.6km/h, a difference of 13.2km/h.
In the end, it wasn’t a bad session as Fernando Alonso would advance out of Q1 to finish in P13. He told his engineer’s at the start of the session he was “driving like an animal.”
And, he clearly was as Stoffel Vandoorne failed to match him; only finishing in P16. He, however, was compromised by a late yellow flag in Q1.
Alonso, however, admitted that “P13 was a big surprise.” He did go onto say that he “did the lap flat out,” and wasn’t “caring to much about risks [and going] over the limit.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 8, 2017
After a promising 2016 campaign which saw McLaren finish 6th in the Constructors Championship, 2017 has only been a struggle as Honda’s power unit has under-delivered.
Stories have already broken of a potential switch to Mercedes power. It’s hard to see what the future holds for McLaren and Honda.
Scoring points tomorrow would be a good place to start…