McLaren team boss Eric Boullier claims returning driver Fernando Alonso has provided “very positive” feedback about their new MP4-30 car, despite a frustrating pre-season testing session in Jerez this week.
McLaren have resumed their partnership with Honda for the 2015 campaign, having called time on their partnership with Mercedes at the end of last season.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, McLaren-Honda won eight world championships and 44 grands prix, took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps – all in just 80 races durin their partnership.
The hope is the pair can bring the glory days back, but early teething trouble meant the MP4-30 car managed just 12 laps over the first two days in Jerez.
There was an improvement on Tuesday when Alonso put in 32 laps before a water leak meant an early finish for the day, but Boullier feels “a big step forward” was achieved.
And he claims the Spanish two-time world champion has given encouraging feedback about the car to provide some hope of major improvements before the season starts at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
The driver feedback was very, very positive,” said Boullier. “Fernando said the car was reacting well to changes and felt stable.”
He added: “The good thing about the car running 10 laps in a row is that [it showed] there are no design or concept issues. The car is amazing, it is very small and tiny. Honda have worked very hard with McLaren to ensure we can design such a car.”