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Alonso insists McLaren ready for F1 opener despite reliability woes

Alonso insists McLaren ready for F1 opener despite reliability woes”

Sebastian Vettel, coming off a somewhat successful test last week, took over the first day of the last preseason Formula 1 test Tuesday, at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton got 91 laps under his belt, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas proving slightly quicker in the stand-out lap of the 86 he completed.

Ferrari enjoyed a productive day without venturing on to the tyres at the softer end of Pirelli's range, focusing instead on longer stints on the medium and soft compound tyres.

The double world champion ground to a halt on the second day of the second test with what appeared to be an oil leak - the latest in a series of setbacks for the Woking outfit. "We revolve them around the customer teams and ourselves to make sure they are all tested ahead of Melbourne, so it's not unusual to find issues".

"Maybe you are new to this but I'm in [my] 18th winter testing and I keep discovering things ever since then".

McLaren has switched to Renault in 2018 after terminating its difficult three-year relationship with Honda.

Another day, another reliability problem; but McLaren insists it does not have a fundamental design issue with its new car. "We are trying to make a plan and every time we lose track time we have to revise the plan and make some other priorities so that something we will not test. We have to make sure we do the most of the priorities and that should be OK, that should be enough".

Alonso's problems made it the fourth of six days of pre-season testing so far on which McLaren have lost significant track time as a result of technical issues. "It's not ideal, and we would have liked more track time, but we're working on it, we're learning from it, and we'll return to the track tomorrow armed with more information", he added.

That put Haas just over a tenth clear of Renault, which kept Nico Hulkenberg in the garage for much of the first half of the morning.

McLaren suffered a second consecutive day of limited running due to reliability issues, with Alonso stopping on track after 47 laps due to an oil leak.

Charles Leclerc brought out a late red with the Sauber driver afternoon ending in the Turn 12 gravel after a spin. Ricciardo stayed behind the wheel for Red Bull, while Kimi Raikkonen replaced Vettel in the Ferrari.

Ten further laps were possible right at the end of the day, but their final tally was Wednesday's lowest and leaves them with the least mileage covered out of all ten teams so far.

"We aren't overly concerned about the issues that we've faced today", team racing director Eric Boullier said.

Teams will test until Friday. The 24-year-old Colombian driver was the team's development driver last season.



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