Gearbox problem costs Button track time
Jenson Button’s running on the second day of the final winter test was heavily disrupted by a gearbox problem. The issue forced him to stop on the circuit, bringing out the second of four red flags.
He said the basic McLaren MP4-29 is good, although he added that in terms of balance and grip, there is still plenty of work to do. The Brit completed 52 laps at the wheel of the team’s 2014 challenger and set the sixth fastest time.
The team’s mechanics worked over the lunch break to repair the car and the Brit was able to return to the track for the final 75 minutes of the session. McLaren will fit a range of major upgrades to the car for the final two days of pre-season testing.
“We had a problem within the gearbox – it took a while to change, as anything within the power-unit does these days – but we got back out at the end, and everything ran smoothly, which was good,” admitted the 34-year-old. “It was a shame to lose that time – it’s the first major issue we’ve had this winter; but it’s better to suffer it here, rather than at a race weekend.
“We were still able to do a long-run on high-fuel this afternoon. The basic car is good, and there’s a great deal of potential there, but there’s still a lot of work to do. We have a good understanding of the power-unit, and we know how to race it, but, in terms of balance and grip, the car isn’t quite there yet. But I know we’ve got some good improvements in the pipeline – and they should help us close the gap to the front of the grid.”
Kevin Magnussen will drive the car on Saturday before Button takes over driving duties on Sunday, which is the 12th and final test session before the season opener in Australia.
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his F1 paddock debut for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle, RumbleStripNews, Formula1Blog, PureF1 and F1 Plus, as well as running a popular blog.