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Published: 14:56 | 20/3/18

McLaren hopeful ahead of new season


McLaren are confident their reliability issues are behind them as they prepare for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne endured a difficult pre-season campaign - they managed less than 600 laps between them - before the former double world champion posted the fastest time in Barcelona.

The Renault-backed team encountered a number of problems during the two weeks of testing at the Circuit du Catalunya, but racing director Eric Boullier has revealed they have worked hard to address the issues ahead of this weekend's race in Melbourne.

“We didn’t have the reliability we had hoped for in winter testing, but all the issues we faced have since been addressed back at the factory. There’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our quest to extract the maximum pace we can from our new package from the first race," Boullier said in a team preview.

McLaren ended their partnership with Honda at the end of 2017 after picking up just 30 points over the course of the season.

Hopes are high that they can challenge for podiums in 2018 with Renault, but Boullier has warned fans not to expect too much heading into the new campaign.

“A new season, and a new chapter for McLaren in 2018. With the many developments within our team over the past six months or so, it brings me great excitement and pride to see everything coming together and the new McLaren Renault MCL33 hitting the track in Melbourne," he added.

“We’re not expecting miracles to be worked overnight – far from it – but what we do know is that we’ll give it our all this weekend.”

The 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is live on eir Sport with the season getting underway with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix on March 25. All three practice sessions from Melbourne Park are live on eir Sport 1 before live qualifying on Saturday at 6am. Lights go out on the first race of the season on Sunday at 6.10am 

Image: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

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