• Australian Grand Prix

McLaren apologises for Webber's ECU problems

ESPN Staff
March 19, 2013 « Williams confident it can overcome problems | Button takes hope from Alonso »
Sebastian Vettel leads the field away while team-mate Mark Webber (centre) is engulfed by the field © Sutton Images

McLaren has apologised to Red Bull for the technical problem with the Engine Control Unit it supplied which malfunctioned on Mark Webber's car at the start of the Australian Grand Prix.

Webber, who qualified second, dropped back to seventh after a software-related issue with the ECU and and after the race Christian Horner said that it was "hugely frustrating because it was an ECU issue and that is supplied by a third party - I'll let you guess who that is".

Martin Whitmarsh responded by saying if it was McLaren's fault it would take responsibility but added that it was possible to "inflict ECU problems on yourself by how you set it up, but I will look into it".

McLaren has now admitted it has traced the problem. "That disrupted his preparations for the start of the race, for which Mark and the team has our apology.

"The electronic units themselves ran without incident in Melbourne, but there was a software-related issue that meant that Webber's car's garage data system had to be re-started during the formation lap."

McLaren Electronics Systems, a division of the McLaren Group that also consists of thee Formula One team, supplies standard ECUs to all teams on the grid. It has said it is working with Red Bull to prevent a repeat of the problem at future races.