McLaren are in a better position than they were this time last year, despite engine problems plaguing the team during the first preseason test, according to racing director Eric Boullier. The team covered only 968 kilometres throughout the four days, less than almost any other team. In comparison, Mercedes covered over 2500, and Ferrari nearly 2200. The teams’ running was effectively limited to two days by power unit issues. The problems aren’t ones McLaren have had to deal with over the past two years, but Boullier says they aren’t serious. “It is fixable, but it was not the plan to have these issues,” Boullier told F1.com “They are not really serious, as there are no fundamental issues with the design.” The design is radically different from what Honda has tried over the past two years. It had been speculated that the shape of the fuel container was to blame for the problem that halted Fernando Alonso’s running on day one, but a proper investigation into the problem is yet to take place. McLaren have already aired on the side of caution when talking about the team’s 2017 goals, but they had been had expected to have a better first test of the year. “We had slightly better expectations coming to Barcelona, but then the week didn’t start exactly as we wanted,” Boullier said. “We’re in a much better situation [than at this point in 2015 and 2016] but, to be frank, it is not good enough for our expectations and the expectations of our fans, after three years.” The team hopes the problems can be solved in time for the next test and, more importantly, the start of the season in Melbourne later this month, but the reliability of the engine doesn’t look promising at this stage. There has been speculation in the Spanish media that McLaren could switch to Mercedes engines before the start of the season. Whilst it’s unlikely the team would give up on the McLaren-Honda dream that early (if for no other reason than it would mean redesigning the car to fit the Mercedes engine), another season full of problems may lead to the team looking elsewhere for engines in the future. For more thoughts on Formula One and the latest news, head to the Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment. What are your expectations for McLaren’s season? Would you rather the team switched to Mercedes engine, or should they persevere with Honda? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.