McLaren's racing director Eric Boullier proved relieved to have seen the MP4-30 more than 30 laps today and is optimistic that when things go well, the team will be completely ready at the season opening Austrlian GP.
The team initially got off to a good start, having finally resolved the electrical issue that had plagued the car during day 1 and day 2. The result was just 6 laps each day, with the car going round slowly as its Honda engine was constantly misfiring.
As the car left the track for its first installation lap this morning, it was clear that things were much better. A clear turbo sound was audible through the paddock when Alonso went out for his first lap, soon followed by several more, until completing 32 laps, all of which considerably faster than the days before.
Following a positive morning however, a problem with the water pressure was discovered by Alonso. It forced the team to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the day as it required the team to dismantle the car.
We've had a loss of cooling water pressure & have removed the power unit for inspection. That’s a long process, so it ends today's running.— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 3, 2015
We can replace those components ahead of running tomorrow. The issue was promptly spotted by Fernando on an outlap - so quick to trace.— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 3, 2015
McLaren's Racing Director Eric Boullier said at the end of the day that the team is indeed "running behind. We're not even at 50% of what we had hoped to do, so we don't quite know yet where we stand".
However, the Frenchman also said that despite the issues encountered so far, the team enjoyed the breakthrough that allowed 32 laps today.
"Exactly, it was a big relief to be able to do 32 laps in quick succession after one another. We're obviously now running step by step, evaluating different things on each run. It will still take some time before we get everything checked, but if things start going well, then we will definitely be ready for the start of the season".
"Then of course you meet one of those small problems like today, with a water leak in the pump system. It's located low and centrally, so we had to remove the entire engine to get this fixed. We could maybe have fixed it to do another half hour of running at the end of the day, but we decided to just do it properly and prepare for the next day".
On the chassis side of things, all looks fine for now. The Frenchman said there were no issues at all with the chassis, "no problem with the balance, no problem with steering, no problem with downforce. No, Fernando was very happy with that. You could see at the first turn that he was strong on the brakes, so it shows that the car itself is behaving well".
McLaren now hopes to get a full day of running tomorrow in order to supply its factory with plenty of data to work through.