Having been the sole supplier via its FIA contract since 2008 McLaren Electronic Systems introduced a new unit this season, which will also be used when the turbo era kicks off in 2014.
After a number of teething issues in testing McLaren claims that the actual units ran reliably in Melbourne. However Mark Webber suffered a suffered software issue for which RBR blamed the supplier.
Webber lost telemetry on the warm-up lap and, unable to prepare properly for the start, got away badly. He was also without KERS for the first 20 laps of the race.
Afterwards team boss Christian Horner was quick to blame McLaren for the problem.
“We lost all telemetry on the formation lap,” he said. “And then you can’t do the preparation that you need to for the start, so then he’s in the blind for the start, and that ECU issue [sic] shut the KERS down as well, so by the time we’d reset the whole system obviously he’d lost the start and lost early ground. It’s something that they need to get on top of, because there’s been a lot of issues during testing.”
Meanwhile McLaren sent an apology and stressed that the actual ECU wasn’t the problem with the following statement: “An ECU comprises several thousand parts, tens of thousands of solder connections and hundreds of thousands of lines of software. It is a very complex piece of equipment that controls the powertrain and DRS, and acts as a car’s primary data system.
“The electronic units themselves ran without incident in Melbourne, but there was a software-related issue that meant that Mark Webber’s Red Bull Racing car’s garage data system had to be re-started during the formation lap. That disrupted his preparations for the start of the race, for which Mark and the team has our apology. We are working together with them to prevent any recurrence.”