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GP Week : Issue 219
not as tough as some It always knew 2015 was going to be a tough year, but even the most pessimistic observer can't have imagined McLaren would have it quite this hard. Four races in and the Woking squad is yet to score a point, while reliability issues plague the team's efforts to make progress. There was a slow start in Australia where Jenson Button finished eleventh and last, two laps adrift of race winner Lewis Hamilton while Kevin Magnussen didn't even see the start of the race before his engine gave up. In Bahrain it was Button's turn to sit the race out, though if the weekend up to that point is anything to go by it may not have been such a bad thing. Throughout practice Button barely ventured out on track. Electrical problems on Friday saw him spin rather pathetically in opening practice while a reoccurance forced him out of qualifying without having set a time. Things didn't improve as when the team fired up teh repaired McLaren ahead of the race - telemetry showing a problem with the Electronic Recovery System which forced the team to withdraw the car from the race. To make matters worse Bahrain is a pseudo home race for McLaren, courtesy of investment from Bahrain Mumtalakat. With its backers present the team fronted just one car for the start, for the second time in 2015. Still, the team is making progress. Fernando Alonso made it out of Q1 and finished eleventh ahead of two Saubers while in China he and Button had been competitive at the back of the midfield. The squad is slowing making strides, and according to Ron Dennis things still aren't as bad as 1980, when John Watson failed to qualify in Monaco. 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BAHRAIN PARTNERS: