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McLaren have apologised to Mark Webber and Red Bull after Melbourne ECU problem

Team lost telemetry during formation lap in Australia

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 25/04/13 11:44am

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Mark Webber made a bad start from the front row

Mark Webber made a bad start from the front row

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McLaren have apologised to Mark Webber and Red Bull after a software glitch with the Engine Control Unit (ECU) prevented his car transmitting telemetry back to the pits during the formation lap of the Australian GP.

The lack of data being fed to the garage meant the 36-year-old could not optimise his tyre and brake temperatures on his way to the grid and finding the correct clutch bite point would also have been difficult.

Webber struggled at the start of the race and was passed by both Ferraris, both Mercedes' and Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus before turn one - dropping from second to seventh.

However, it would seem that the driver was not to blame with McLaren admitting the ECU suffered a software problem.

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

"That disrupted his preparations for the start of the race, for which Mark and the team has our apology. We are working together with them to prevent any recurrence.

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"There is a new standard ECU (Engine Control Unit) in 2013 that featured on all Formula 1 cars that took part in the recent Australian Grand Prix.

"It will power the 2.4-litre V8 engines this season and the new 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged parallel hybrid engines in 2014 and beyond.

"Supplied by McLaren Electronics Systems, the new ECUs were run for the first time on the track by most teams in winter testing in February, just six weeks before racing began in Melbourne.

"They replace the previous ECUs that have been running very reliably since the standard ECU was introduced by the FIA in 2008.

"An ECU comprises several thousand parts, tens of thousands of solder connections and hundreds of thousands of lines of software. It is a very complex piece of equipment that controls the powertrain and DRS, and acts as a car's primary data system."

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