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GP Week : Issue 216
Five seconds It may have only been qualifying, but McLaren's five second deficit to Mercedes showed just how much of an uphill battle it faces in 2015. Having switched from Mercedes to Honda power for this season much was expected in the Japanese giant's return to Formula One. But pre-season wasn't kind. reliability problems severely hampered the team and left it heading to Melbourne so far behind the game with Honda decided to detune its engines in a bid to make the cars run the full race distance. "unfortunately we don't have the experience of higher temperatures so we could not [risk] losing the engine in the first race," Honda's motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai said. "The heat problem is not only with the engine but also the MGu-K. We took that power [reduction] to survive several races with the one engine." The strategy failed spectacularly as Kevin Magnussen parked his car on the out lap to the grid on sunday afternoon, his McLaren engulfed in a cloud of smoke. It was small consolation that Jenson Button made the finish. The Brit was two laps down by the finish, a lap behind sergio Perez in 10th and the last classified runner. Outwardly McLaren remains optimistic. The drivers are happy enough with the car, which they believe will be a front runner once the initial gremlins in the highly complex Honda power unit are solved, but it's a case of taking the pain until then. There was a lot of pain in Australia, and with just two weeks before the circus reaches the event hotter Malaysian Grand Prix it's unlikely McLaren's fortunes will be any better there. still, at least it'll have Fernando back. Or will it? ... 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRALIA PARTNERS: