Eric Boullier: “There’s a neat circularity to the fact that McLaren-Honda starts its second era in the same country at which it ended its first."
Jenson Button (FP1: 1m34.542s, 6 laps, 14th / FP2: 1m31.387s, 21 laps, 13th): “We didn't get as much mileage as we’d have liked in today’s sessions, but the balance didn’t feel too bad. The lack of running in FP1 made it more difficult for us to get a good base set-up for FP2; you can’t set the car up around a single timed lap, so we didn’t have the momentum that we’d normally have going into FP2.
“Nevertheless, we improved the balance quite a bit through the afternoon. We have a few niggly problems to solve, but the basic car doesn’t feel too bad.
“We know it’s not going to be easy, but we’re all working as one team, we’re solving the problems as we go, and, hopefully, we’ll be competitive sooner rather than later. We’ll put our heads down and get the best out of what we’ve got this weekend. A lot of hard work will be needed, but we knew that would be the case coming into the season.”
Kevin Magnussen (FP1: 1m34.785s, 7 laps, 15th / FP2: 1m33.289s, 4 laps, 16th): “We didn’t get too many laps in FP1. Then I went off and damaged the car in the afternoon, so I didn’t get much running under my belt in FP2 either.
“I tried to push my braking point into Turn Six, then lost the rear on entry. The car still made the apex, but then it snapped at a difficult time. I couldn’t avoid hitting the wall. It was a driver mistake. It’s a shame, but these things happen – my bad – and life goes on.
“The positive is that the balance and feeling of the car feels good – we’re not as fast as we’d like, but we’re not too far off the optimum balance in the car. Clearly, there’s a lot more to come, but it’s definitely a good baseline.
“Hopefully we’ll get a better idea of where we are in FP3 tomorrow. Hopefully we can go into qualifying feeling a bit more confident.”
Eric Boullier (Racing director, McLaren-Honda): “There’s a neat circularity to the fact that McLaren-Honda starts its second era in the same country at which it ended its first. Here in Australia, there’s always a tingle of nervousness and anticipation on the first day of the new season, but I’m pleased and proud of the way in which both McLaren and Honda have dovetailed successfully to work as one team.
“Clearly, our practice times today indicate that we have work to do in order to close the gap to our rivals. It was a difficult day, but we expected that. Nevertheless, the feedback from both drivers, and the potential within the package, give us great optimism for the future.
“We always knew that the first race of the year would be tricky, but we’re working hard to narrow the gap, and I think there’s more to come tomorrow.”
Yasuhisa Arai (Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport): “After many months and weeks of intense preparation, the first day of the new season makes all of us at Honda feel slightly nervous and excited at the same time.
“It’s been a promising day: we encountered a slight system data control issue towards the end of FP1, but it was a minor problem, and we were able to get both cars out for the start of FP2.
“Kevin’s accident was unfortunate, but we know it’ll be a better day for him tomorrow.
“Our afternoon session was more productive: we gathered lots of useful data, and we’ll further concentrate on refining that data ahead of tomorrow’s FP3 and qualifying sessions.”