New McLaren Honda breaks cover

McLaren today started testing of a new Honda power unit in a modified version of its 2014 Formula One car. The testing took place during a filming day at the Silverstone circuit in the U.K. under strict conditions.

McLaren, along with other teams taking part in the filming day, were only able to drive the car a limited distance and with demonstration tires. However, the test still represents a major step in the development of McLaren’s 2015 F1 car, particularly in the area of packaging and integration.

Honda first confirmed its intention to return to F1 as an engine supplier back in 2013. The Japanese automaker’s new power unit, which was revealed for the first time last month, will be used exclusively by McLaren in the 2015 season.

The power unit consists of a turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 engine paired with two electric motor-generators, one providing a boost of power to the wheels and the other helping spool up the turbo. Under current regs, combined system output is around 750 horsepower.

Unrestricted testing of the new power unit in a McLaren chassis will commence after next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi. By then, we should also know McLaren’s driver lineup for the 2015 season. Currently driving for McLaren are Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, though the former may be replaced by current Ferrari man Fernando Alonso.

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