Honda forced to replace Vandoorne's engine after electrical issue

Honda’s troubles in Formula 1 continued on Tuesday when it suffered yet another engine problem on the opening day of the final pre-season test.

The Japanese car manufacturer had been eager to bounce back from a troubled first week with its new engine, but it did not get the start that it had hoped for.

During the morning running, an electrical issue with the latest power unit confined Stoffel Vandoorne to the garage after 34 laps.

A decision was taken for the engine to be changed, and a fresh power unit to be fitted for the afternoon. This will also be the same specification as last week.

Honda said in a statement: “We detected an electrical issue with the PU (power unit) in Stoffel’s car. In the interest of maximising track time, we opted to replace it and investigate the issue further once the PU is out of the car.

“The PU we are using today is the same spec as the PU run last week at test one.”

McLaren frustrations

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admitted that the latest problem was another blow to the team, which is now lacking mileage.

“It’s frustrating for everybody,” he said on a Facebook video. “When you don’t have a lot of days of testing you want to make the most of it. It’s frustrating for Stoffel and for us as well.”

He added: “The less we run, the less we learn the cars and the more we run behind on our development programme.”

The electrical problem today comes after a failure on the second day of last week’s test.

Honda’s investigations into that problem have been ongoing back at its Japanese Sakura headquarters, and experiments were due to take place this week to try to get a better understanding of the situation.

The latest reliability drama comes with just three days of F1 testing remaining prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.