Vandoorne undone by a broken exhaust clip

Date published: February 28 2018

Limited to just 37 laps on Tuesday, Stoffel Vandoorne has confirmed that it was a broken exhaust clip that curtailed his running in Spain.

The 25-year-old replaced Fernando Alonso for Day Two at the Circuit de Catalunya, and, like his team-mate the day before, found himself sitting on the sidelines.

But while Alonso’s running on Monday was hampered by a loose wheel nut, for Vandoorne it was a broken exhaust clip that kept him to just 37 laps.

“Unfortunately we had this small issue with the exhaust clip just after lunch which obviously detached the exhaust and blew a lot of hot air on some of the wiring looms,” he said.

“One of those wiring looms was the brake wire as well, so the team took a precautionary check which obviously meant things took a bit longer than expected.

“All in all it’s been a positive day with a lot of thing learned and it was not a big problem.”

Nevertheless the Belgian says he is happy with his first impression of the Renault-powered MCL33.

“Obviously it was very nice to get back in the car after the winter, it felt like I hadn’t left the cockpit so that was positive I think.

“Mainly what held us back was the weather conditions, obviously very cold and damp circuit, so that took a while to get the running started for everyone.

“So we took the opportunity to do some rake works and gather some aero data during this time, and after that the track got in a reasonable condition and we managed to do a few proper runs and try and understand a bit more the car we have this year.

“The first impression is very positive, felt very comfortable, no surprises – some good learning done.”

As for the Renault engine, he said: “So far very positive. There are no big things to say really, everything feels nice, drivability feels very good, every settings we change are working as expected, so so far there‚Äôs nothing much to tell.”