The four-time champion managed to complete just 14 laps at the wheel of the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s 2014 machine on the opening day of the second winter test in Bahrain, after suffering a new mechanical problem that is unrelated to the gremlins from the first test in Jerez.
“Obviously we’re not happy with where we are now and we have a long way ahead of us,” he said. “The first gut feeling from the car is OK, but we need more running. It’s not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems.
“We sorted out the issues from Jerez and we were able to do some laps today. However, very often you fix one problem and another pops up, which is what happened. That’s testing. We all knew this year was a massive challenge and we knew it would be difficult. We obviously didn’t want this, but it is what it is and we are working flat out to solve the problems.”
Andy Damerum, race engineering co-ordinator, added: “It’s been a very long two weeks for everyone back at the factory and I have to say that while it might not appear so on the surface there has been a big improvement since Jerez. We are obviously playing catch-up and for us this was very much like a first test, so we were sending the car out to do one lap, then two and trying to build from there.
“In that regard the laps completed were good. However, we were sidelined by a mechanical gremlin but one unrelated to the issues in Jerez. That’s the way of testing. All these problems have to be ironed out and only reveal themselves as you progress. We’ll look at solving that issue now and we’re itching to get out on track again tomorrow.”
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