McLaren-Honda forced to change test plans

© XPB 

McLaren-Honda has been forced to changes its plans for the upcoming two days of testing at Spielberg following Fernando Alonso’s heavy crash during last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

After introducing a major power unit upgrade in Canada two weeks ago, the renewed partnership brought several aero developments to its MP4-30, including a shorter nose, but only Alonso could run the modified package due to a limited number of updated parts.

While another disappointing performance in qualifying left him with the 15th fastest time in Q2, the Spaniard insisted the evolutions were yielding benefits and looked to collect more valuable data on race day to prepare this week’s test.

With Alonso’s car sustaining substantial damage in his ‘very bizarre’ shunt with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Mclaren will not be able to carry on the wide-ranging evaluation they had hoped to achieve in Austria.

Indeed, the Woking-based outfit will have to run a car fitted with old and updated components, which is likely to slow the pace of development and put further strain on an already torrid season for the McLaren-Honda alliance.

As a result of its latest misfortune, the British team has also elected to tweak its driver line-up for the second and final in-season test. Initially scheduled to run on the opening Tuesday, Alonso will swap with test and development driver Stoffel Vandoorne and drive on Wednesday instead.

Coming off his fifth consecutive GP2 Series Feature Race win, the Belgian rising star will be in action on Tuesday.

Click here for the gallery of Raikkonen and Alonso's crash at the Austrian Grand Prix

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