JUNE 20, 2015
McLaren almost shelved new short nose
McLaren's all-new 'short nose' was almost shelved at the scene of the Austrian grand prix.
The British team reportedly tried and failed to pass the FIA's mandatory crash testing with the new concept in the weeks leading up to its debut on Friday.
But even with the crash tests finally passed, the nose almost had to be shelved in Austria, the German publication Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Indeed, the FIA's technical chief Jo Bauer was spotted in the McLaren-Honda garage on Friday.
"We still have some paperwork to do before we can use it," confirmed a hurried team boss Eric Boullier at the time.
It emerges that the monocoque fitted to the short nose when it finally passed the crash tests was a different version to the one being raced in Austria.
Paddock rumours indicate the 'crash test' monocoque was a special lightweight one that the British team wants to debut at home at Silverstone in a fortnight.
With a bundle of paperwork, McLaren had to prove that the short nose would also have passed the crash tests with the original, Austria-spec monocoque.
Boullier admits the Woking based team has pushed hard with car development in 2015.
"It's a new car," he said in Austria. "The only thing we haven't changed is the sidepods."
However, McLaren will not shine in Austria. Honda is still grappling with poor reliability, and on Sunday Fernando Alonso will be at the back of the grid and also serving mid-race penalties due to taking a fifth engine.
But he is at the wheel of McLaren's car improvements and will then return to action in the post-race test next week, saying of the trip to Austria: "This (race weekend) is another test for us.
"We will see what we can do on Saturday and in qualifying, but the (grid) position is irrelevant," Alonso told Spanish reporters.
"We take this whole weekend as a test, as the car has many improvements and we have a lot to experiment with.
"If we finish on Sunday with some answers, then everything will have gone well for us," he added.