Honda’s plans to introduce a Melbourne-specification engine at the second Barcelona test could be hampered by an unexplained mechanical issue.
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne both ran into troubles as pre-season testing began in Spain with the double World Champion sidelined on Day One with an oil system leak.
Vandoorne didn’t fare much better on Day Two as a mechanical issue, one that Honda has yet to find the cause of, limited his running.
“The first day we had an oil system issue,” Honda’s F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa told Spanish TV station Movistar.
“Normally the oil tank has to manage the oil level but this year we had some bad oil management so that is why we need to modify the oil tank system.
“The second day we had a mechanical issue and still we don’t know the root cause of the problem.
“This is more fundamental and more serious I think.”
Such is the size of the problem that Hasegawa fears it would have a negative impact on the team’s start to the season.
“The oil tank definitely not… the mechanical issue, I don’t know yet to be confident about that, but of course I worry about that.”
In fact it could have consequences as early as next week as Honda are uncertain as to whether they can press on with plans to run a Melbourne-spec engine in the second test.
As expected, Honda’s current troubles are not helping their relationship with McLaren.
“In the tests, of course, this is a time we need to overcome a lot of trouble.
“So sometimes we need to argue or we need to have constructive discussion, but I think we are doing a very good job and we have a very good relationship.”