McLaren could test 2015 Honda F1 car this year

By Alan Baldwin

MONZA Italy (Reuters) – McLaren could give their 2015 Honda-powered Formula One car its first track test in Abu Dhabi after the end of this season in November, the team’s racing director Eric Boullier said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters at the Italian Grand Prix, the Frenchman clarified comments made by Honda motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai who said there were no plans for the car to run until the first pre-season test of 2015 in Jerez.

“Regarding the first test of a McLaren Honda-powered car, there is no decision yet about when and where,” said Boullier. “This is still open.

“It is true that there was a comment but we won’t give a definite answer now because we actually don’t know yet exactly. But it’s very likely it may be before Jerez as well.”

A two-day test is scheduled for Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, which takes place there on Nov. 23.

The 2015 McLaren will be keenly awaited, with the former champions ending a long partnership with Mercedes to rekindle the relationship with Honda, the Japanese manufacturer that powered them to victory in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

McLaren have not won a race since the end of the 2012 season.

Arai told the official website this week that there were “no plans to collect data during the rest of 2014. Jerez will be the first time”.

He added that simulations would start in the next couple of weeks and Honda expected the engine to be competitive immediately.

“I have confidence that we will match Mercedes,” he said. “I trust – I am a firm believer – that we will win races next year.”

(Editing by Tony Goodson)

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