By Alan Baldwin
MANAMA (Reuters) - Even the back of the grid was beyond the reach of McLaren's Jenson Button on Sunday after an electrical failure ruled the Briton out of the Bahrain Grand Prix before the start.
The 2009 Formula One world champion had been due to line up last, after failing to set a lap time in Saturday's qualifying and sitting out most of practice due to an electrical problem with the car.
Stewards gave him permission to start but the team, whose new partnership with Honda has suffered a troubled start to the season, said he had been further sidelined by a recurring problem with the car's energy recovery system.
"The data out of the energy recovery system was not clean," McLaren head Ron Dennis told Sky Sports television.
"The chances of it failing are quite high so it's probably better not to run it."
Button's Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso, who lined up in 14th place after the team's best qualifying performance of the season, completed the distance and finished just outside the points in 11th.
Former champions McLaren have not scored a point yet this year and last won a race, with Button, in 2012.
"That was a disappointing day to end a disappointing weekend," said the Briton, who did not wait to see the end of the race, in a later team release.
"However, although I was unable to get the running I required, and was also unable to make the start of today’s race at all, it’s clear that our car is improving, and that’s good news for all of us."
Team principal Eric Boullier said Alonso's 11th place proved progress was being made.
"Clearly, we aren’t satisfied with our level of competitiveness -- our team exists to win -- but we’ve made gargantuan strides since the Australian Grand Prix," added the Frenchman.
(Editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)