Eric Boullier, McLaren, Albert Park, 2014

Boullier relieved “very extreme” McLaren has run

2015 F1 Season

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier is pleased the team’s radical car has achieved some running but admits their limited mileage will make it harder to catch their rivals.

Speaking at the end of the third day of testing – after which the team had covered a total of 44 laps at Jerez – Boullier said it may take time for the team to become truly competitive.

“With a new engine supplier, the less we run, the more difficult its going to be to catch up,” he said.

“Later, we will be ready to compete competitively. Every time we can’t achieve all the targets in terms of mileage, or development, we push back the date where we’ll be able to exploit 100 percent of the car.”

After logging just 194 kilometers in the first three days, Boullier gave a frank assessment of the team’s lap count so far: “Not enough. But it’s better than nothing.”

Despite the issues, Boullier believes there is plenty for the team to feel positive about with the new Honda-powered MP4-30.

“Operationally we’ve covered everything we wanted, says Boullier. “We have no design or conceptual issues with the car, everything is working fine. Fernando [Alonso] said the car is reacting well, the car is very stable.”

The new McLaren has drawn plenty of attention for its compact rear end. It’s this, Boullier feels, that is the most impressive aspect of their new challenger.

“You can see for yourself, the back end of the car is quite amazing,” says Boullier. “The car is very, very small at the rear.”

Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuito de Jerez, 2015“Honda have worked very hard with McLaren to make sure that we can design such a car. Mobil have taken a very interested involvement in this and thanks to them we can push the limits of cooling and we can run hotter engines, which means smaller radiators, smaller cooling system.

“Everything is going into achieving a tinier car. Our car is very, very extreme in terms of how small it is and this is why it was a relief to see the car running [yesterday] with no cooling issues because that was one of the main concerns.”

Asked whether the team’s fortunes during the opening test mirrored that of Red Bull’s last year, Boullier remained cautious.

“It would be a good achievement if we could finish second in the championship like they did last year, but I don’t think we can make any comparisons like that this early.”

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Will Wood
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  • 30 comments on “Boullier relieved “very extreme” McLaren has run”

    1. I remember Williams having some of the tightest rear end packaging on their 2013 challenger… yet the car turned out to be a complete dog.

      Hoping it’s not the same for Mclaren this year…

      Still got to admire Mclaren’s do or die attitude. Makes sense for Fernando to leave for a team that either does it right or fail’s miserably. It’s a heck of a lot better than Ferrari’s consistently mediocre performances with zero innovation

      1. Well, 2013 Red Bull had THE tightest rear end packaging and it won 9 races in a row.

      2. Exactly. A tight rear end is quite attractive but it’s not necessarily indicative of performance.

      3. But remember that this Williams also had it’s coanda effect exhaust banned before Australia and had to change it.

        And its replacement was bad. When they got to COTA they dropped it in favor of a conventional one and the car improved greatly.

    2. Well I’m glad they’ve really pushed this car to the extreme. It could be awesome or… Exciting to find out in March!

    3. this car when up and running, and with setups worked out will be a winner i think. the formula of this car seems to be excellent, and the Honda power unit design seems to mimick Mercedes, with the compressor at the front. i just fear it might be a bit advanced and pushing the boundaries too much, like the 2003 mclaren which never ended up racing.

    4. Great! No cooling issues! At 6°C? It would be a calamity to have them.

    5. “Fernando [Alonso] said the car is reacting well, the car is very stable.”
      Really? I think he should see the car on track more often :)

    6. I’m over the moon with the way the McLaren has performed over the first four days. My first concern was reliability as McLaren will have the largest development potential and points on the board early on could pay dividends later in the campaign. I thought overheating would be an issue a la Red Bull last year but the car looks to be sound in that regard and the other stoppages have been precautionary. 32 consecutive laps on the 3rd day of a new partnership should not be scoffed at, and before Jerez I would have been happy to see 50 laps over the course of the first test. Boullier also seems happy which is a welcome change from late last year.

      As for how the others are performing I’m not overly impressed by anyone other than Mercedes. They are naturally super confident and will be the team to beat come Melbourne. Looking at the times from Lotus, we can not possibly believe that the Lotus with a brand new engine and having to learn a whole new car are only 0.7s off the pace of the champions. This is merely testing and no one is showing their hand. However, Ferrari’s performance suggests they are trying to impress as early as possible. I saw a lot of comments on here yesterday from people who should know better claiming the resurgence of Ferrari and McLaren mimicking Williams decline. Outrageous. Every single time Ferrari gave me cause for optimism over 5 years I was left ridiculously disappointed. So I’m not heralding a job well done yet given Ferrari were far and away the best car of the first test in 2011, failed miserably to develop over 2012 and 2013 and produced a dog which was capable of 2 podiums in the hands of 2 world champions last year. But make no mistake, Ferrari and McLaren look to be able to move up the grid this year given the financial struggles of Lotus, Force India and Sauber. The Toro Rosso from reports is also not looking great either so I expect Mercedes to have a lead over Williams and Red Bull in Australia who in turn lead McLaren and Ferrari.

      1. I do not understand how people can keep doubting McLaren as a motorsport team and engineering powerhouse.
        McLaren, if anyone, should have the advantage now that the entire circus has switched back to low noses since they were the ones who had stuck with the low noses for a long time after everyone else on the grid took the easy way out and “got high” :D.
        McLaren and Team Enstone are the two teams who have come up with most of the “special” ideas in the past decade. I still think that their car with the U shaped sidepods was one of the most aggressive and interesting attempts at looking for answers where their competitors dare not wander. Sure, these special ideas never performed as they were expected to(cough fron exhaust, cough) but lessons were learned the hard way and that is something solid to build on.

        If anyone can make a dog of a car win, it would be the people at McLaren, if it wasn’t for Alonso.
        I never understood what made ALO so great, sure he is fast, but all those years spent at Ferrari and he never managed to help the most prestigious team in the sport develop a winning combination. And that is when you include their right to veto FIA rules and regulations.

        ALO likes to play things safe. Some might say it’s “tactical and calculating” but first on his mind is “safe”.
        He plays his game as safe as he possibly can and that attitude kept Ferrari down for as long as ALO was driving for them….and now he’s about to do it to McLaren.

        1. Since when does Fernando responsible for bringing engineering genius to an f1 team. No doubt he is the best driver on the grid… but coming up with engineering marvels is a little beyond his job description

          Playing a tactical or ‘safe’ game is what has kept him in a lot of championships till the last race.. but I do not believe that ‘safe’ mentality has anything to do with engineering talent or car design risks for his team.

          Maybe you need to look at the 2005 and 2006 Renault with the Mass damper…. mabe Alonso told his team to be ‘unsafe’ during those years… and that led to a great design element…pfft

          1. That tuned damper was Team Enstone, btw, and I suspect Ferrari’s veto had a big part in getting a internal part banned as movable aero.

            Where did I say that ALO is supposed to engineer the car?
            ALO has nothing to do with engineering…but he is the guy that Ferrari build their car, technology and entire team around for many years. I suppose people like to remember ALO being heralded as a Prodigy and Demigod of car development and technical feedback when he’s on a winning streak only?

            If ALO is indeed that good, how come this partnership did not win, and do so in a superior fashion?

            Where did this super human talent evaporate to during his stint at Ferrari?
            If ALO really was this absurdly good as a car developer, could he just not be bothered to do it for Ferrari after getting his 05 and 06 titles?

            1. I will +1 Cranberry, I don’t believe ALO is as good as everyone has been lead to believe. He had a chance to build a winning team with Ferrari, and attract the engineering talent, but second place is still the first loser.

            2. That tuned damper was Team Enstone, btw,

              Don’t understand what you’re trying to prove with this statement.

              By your bizarre logic – Sebastian Vettel was a phenomenal development driver to have built RB around him so brilliantly, but suddenly his development skills abandoned him in 2014. What happened here?!?!?

              Schumacher had 3 years in Mercedes, and he actually managed to take them backwards. What happened to Schumacher’s development skills??! How can this be the same driver of Ferrari years!!… maybe Schumacher isn’t a god of car development?!?

              I really think you need to understand the job descriptions of car designers & engineers, and compare that to a racing drivers’ job description.

              A racing driver will give feedback, but the execution is down to the engineers, mechanics and designers. I really doubt what Alonso asked the team for cars that were constantly lacking downforce and stable handling

            3. Firstly, I do not recall there being much fanfare about VET’s capabilities as a car developer. Ever.
              What I do remember, is there being much talk about his skills after a very memorable Monza victory. Granted Toro Rosso was arguably the better car when compared to RBR’s wheels, but TR was always going to be a feeder to the mothership that is RBR, and his performances put him in favor with the right people when they were building RBR around Newey’s vision. VET was simply in a position that made it possible for him to display his talent and become a part of the RBR-Newey winning formula.
              This chain of events is something that has always cast a shadow over his skill as a driver.

              ALO on the other hand had much smoke blown up his trumpet throughout his first Renault stay and especially during his 05-06 high point. I remember very well how there was talk of how sensitive RAI was to the car balance at McL and how his feedback was exceptional because of this. And now that RAI was going to Ferrari, McL had the unique opportunity to sign the superhuman car developer that was ALO.

              Funny how those fanfares died down completely come season 08.
              I was genuinely dissappointed. I was looking forward to seeing ALO drag Renault back to the top and having 3 teams fighting on equal footing.
              What we got instead was Crashgate… and true to form Kanye knew nothing about the shenanigans of his team and dodged the bullet.

              To say that MSC dragged Mercedes backwards is an absurd statement of the highest magnitude.
              You can’t possibly compare the Ferrari of late 90’s with the Brawn of late 00’s that Ross Brawn bought for 1£ just 12 months earlier.
              Be it 20 year old MSC or 40 year old MSC, the team was not up to the task of winning and it probably still would not be had the FIA not capitulated to the demands for a economy F1.

            4. You can’t possibly compare the Ferrari of late 90’s with the Brawn of late 00’s that Ross Brawn bought for 1£ just 12 months earlier.
              Be it 20 year old MSC or 40 year old MSC, the team was not up to the task of winning and it probably still would not be had the FIA not capitulated to the demands for a economy F1.

              You love contradicting yourself.. don’t you? It was the Ferrari team at that time that made it possible.. not just Schumi

          2. Cranberry and @todfod, what I think makes Alonso great and successful is his consistency. He is also regarded as relentless in his desire for success and typically fights for the podium til the last embers of the race. Regardless of what happens with McLaren he will unquestionably go down as an all time great of the sport and has been in most people’s top three on the grid since 2005. There are few drivers over the history of F1 who can compare to that.

            On the point of playing it safe and that being to the detriment of his team, I can not see any evidence to support this. In 2006, he fell out with Renault conspiring they were angling for him to lose the championship regarding the wrong strategy at Shanghai. In 2007, he threatened to blackmail Ron Dennis. In 2010, he overtook Massa on the pit entrance in Shanghai to force himself to being the teams number one. If anything he is too aggressive in his approach with teams. But the reality of the matter is that no driver contributes to the engineering set up of the team. History will look at Vettel being in the right place at the right time backed by massive finances and a team centred around a proven aerodynamic genius. I highly doubt Fernando Alonso will be blamed for not contributing enough to Ferrari over the period.

            1. By your logic on car development being the most important factor in winning surely that makes Pedro De La Rosa the greatest driver of all time. Or Alex Wurz. Or Marc Gene.

              The simple fact is that some drivers are better at some aspects of driving than others. No one is claiming Alonso is perfect, just that he is arguably the best driver at the moment. I have never heard any argument that Hamilton or Vettel is any better at developing the car than Alonso. And that still wouldn’t explain why his employer in Ferrari could not bring in a development driver and run him. When they did, in De La Rosa he claimed Ferrari’s simulator was a long way behind McLaren and that the wind tunnel was far too small. Yet you attribute these things to Alonso’s lack of ability in some area. It doesn’t make any sense. Its too simplistic an approach to it.

            2. Who is the best driver on the grid is a mere matter of opinion.
              On sheer talent my top 4 would be a very close RAI, HAM and then ALO, VET just a bit further back.

              ALO playing it safe and bringing home the necessary points when it is the only realistic option is actually one of the few things I like about his way of doing things…that and the few videos I’ve seen of him interacting with his fans.

              I have no doubt that he’s a likeable man outside the F1 paddock, but the way he treats his team bosses, team mates, has a tantrum every fortnight and wishing to be in other people’s cars, is what makes me regard him as the Kanye West of the pit lane.

              It is not outside the realm of possibility that ALO just does not say everything there is to say about how his car feels when he is giving technical feedback in order to confuse the engineers and thus keep his team mate from challenging him on the track. In a way his ruthlessness is what makes him want to have an advantage over all of his enemies and in doing so he just ends up shooting himself in the foot season after season.

              I disagree with the drivers having no say in the engineering setup of the cars, how could that even be possible? Anyone who follows F1 even moderately knows that RAI is useless unless the front of the car is the way he needs it, and VET’s success stemmed largely from his ability to use the EBD better than WEB.
              I’m sure other drivers have similar necessities that are just fanfared alot less.

              I suspect James Allison being in charge at Ferrari is what sparked ALO’s move to McLaren. Allison is probably the best after Newey, if not as good as Newey, and ALO saw what RAI was able to do in a car designed by Allison.
              Also, with LdM gone ALO knew he could not count on RAI’s campaign being sabotaged by Ferrari again, so once again he played it safe and moved to a team where the team mate is unlikely able to challenge him on skill level and if the jump proves unsuccessful he can always blame the car.
              I predict that ALO will be crying about the Honda engine well before the summer break, while crying and wishing for a Merc engine for christmas.

            3. It is not outside the realm of possibility that ALO just does not say everything there is to say about how his car feels when he is giving technical feedback in order to confuse the engineers and thus keep his team mate from challenging him on the track. In a way his ruthlessness is what makes him want to have an advantage over all of his enemies and in doing so he just ends up shooting himself in the foot season after season.

              You seriously believe that?

              I suspect James Allison being in charge at Ferrari is what sparked ALO’s move to McLaren. Allison is probably the best after Newey, if not as good as Newey, and ALO saw what RAI was able to do in a car designed by Allison.
              Also, with LdM gone ALO knew he could not count on RAI’s campaign being sabotaged by Ferrari again, so once again he played it safe and moved to a team where the team mate is unlikely able to challenge him on skill level and if the jump proves unsuccessful he can always blame the car.

              Wow

            4. Yes I do believe that.
              I was a huge fan of ALO since his first race at Minardi, it was genuinely a fantastic performance and I wanted more.
              But over the years he has shown his true colors as a pompous, arrogant, and entitled crybaby, who is not above blackmailing his boss or putting his teammates and everyone elses safety at serious risk to win a race.

              Why would ALO not want to dodge the challenge that RAI could present in a car made by Allison? He has never gone 1 on 1 with a competitive team mate. The only time he had a competitive team mate happened by mistake since he could not anticipate a rookie’s ability in 07.

              Going back to the McL of 2015:
              I wish we could see VET in the seat occupied by ALO. Then we could possibly see his capability of building a team and a car to fight at the top…I don’t think he can really achieve this at Ferrari by mimicking MSC.

            5. Cranberry you’re coming across as a very strong Raikkonen fan unable to accept that he was beaten by the better man. I can not speak for Alonso but I highly doubt his move from Ferrari was attributed to cowardice. You’re thoughts on James Allison have no real basis. Newey has had unbelievable success across many regulation sets and most of the time as the focal point of operations at Leyton House, Williams, McLaren and Red Bull. Allison was a part of a large team that worked under Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne. He then moved to Renault in 2005 whereafter success was limited, in fact between 2007 and 2011 downright average. Also Raikkonen had achieved a grand total of one win with Allison, Alonso has 16.

              I find a lot of people who come to hate Alonso either personally or as a result of being a rival to their favourite driver try to belittle his achievements and want top trumps style arguments using statistics. But to suggest Alonso ‘plays things safe’ but manages to have a vice like grip over everyone at a international conglomerate is nothing short of hypocrisy. Alonso left, most probably, because he saw the decline of Ferrari and acknowledged the best way for both teams to improve was to be apart. I concede that in different cars at different times in their careers, Massa and Raikkonen could be a lot closer to Alonso than the tables suggest, but we should not use that as a reason to detract from the fact that they were completely demolished by him.

            6. I dont mean to belittle ALO nor am I defending RAI. RAI has his own faults in the way he condescends fans and media and he never misses an opportunity to remind us how he just doesn’t care.
              I was always partial to WEB, he found a good balance of saying his opinion straight but in a joking/playful manner. “This is Formula 1, man, this stuff happens”….what a gladiator. And I’ll never forget Singapore ’10.

              In my opinion, pound for pound RAI has more talent than ALO. RAI has also never attempted to keep talented drivers from signing as his team mate.

              ALO may have gotten the better in ’14 but it was hardly a fair setting with RAI walking into a team tailored for ALO. It’s why I suspect Allison sparked his leaving. Allison has always struck me as a straight guy with a very good head on his shoulders and he would not put up with ALO’s demands of favouritism.
              Allison may have done that at Renault, but that was mostly Briatore’s doing IMO.

              And when comparing careers it’s not even close. Nobody has created himself more controversy than ALO in the way he competes both on and off the track. For starters, the only time ALO has had a competitive team mate was by accident, he could not anticipate the competitiveness that a rookie could deliver in 07 and we all saw what his reaction was. Dodging bullets about blackmail and exchanging emails about using stolen Ferrari data/technology.

              Then Kanye finished it off the following year with Crashgate and any respect he had in my eyes evaporated never to be seen again.

              One does not need to belittle ALO or come up with made up stories, his character is well documented in his actions.

            7. It is clear you are entrenched in your opinion, Cranberry and who am I to dissuade you from it. Alonso clearly favours having a second string team-mate but so did Schumacher and Alonso arguably cost himself the 2010 and 2012 championships from that policy. But I disagree Allison moving to Ferrari around the time of Alonso’s departure is anything other than coincidence. Mattiaci I believe did not want to centre the team’s ambition around one man and as the pair drifted apart, along with Vettel’s availability, leaving was Alonso’s only option. I also can not see Allison sticking his oar in against Alonso in ‘his’ team in the first months of being there. His job is to restructure the engineering department not the driver line-up.

              As for the McLaren situation, I don’t think anyone believes Alonso would have actually went to the FIA with the information. He was merely using it as a bartering tool which backfired when Dennis realised he had a marketing dream in Hamilton and would be better served supporting him. Given the time again, I’m sure all three men would act differently.

              Crashgate gets brought up in Alonso arguments but these can be easily disproved. Would Alonso, less than a year after Spygate and being in court, really want anything to do with this plot for the sake of one race win? I think almost anyone would acknowledge it was too risky from his perspective. Following that, he was interviewed by a senior police figure who was a master of interrogation and believed Alonso knew nothing about it. But, the clincher for me in Crashgate was the pre-podium conversation with Briatore. Alonso would either have to be the stupidest man alive, or the bravest, to utter the words: “that was a good bit of luck, wasn’t it!” to Briatore 20 seconds after pulling off the masterplan.

      2. After scrolling through (and not reading), i understand that that was fun! :P

      3. @rbalonso

        McLaren’s performance during the test was terrible.

        Relativizing (“…of a new partnership”) brings absolutely nothing, since nobody is going to relativize the results when the races come.

        Honda is a year late, McLaren is behind aerodynamically (see last year), so what they (desperately) need is to move faster than other teams. What they did was the absolute contrary.

        Kid yourself not, it’s getting close to be a disaster.

    7. I really hope they are fighting for podiums after the summer break, they have Alonso, as long as they give him a decent car he will do that extra something needed to fight for good things.

    8. The car has potential and some bits like the rear are truly impressive but looking at their limited on track performance they have a long way to go. While others work on perfecting the setup, they seem to struggle with the baseline. RBR turned it around last year but the others didn’t have 1 year head-start and there was also the indoor testing with AVL – so imo they have a very steep hill to climb, but at least it goes in the right direction.

    9. In this very very very british page, where I know very well I am a guest and I can be deleted million times, as it happened in the past, let me just say something, as a race driver and as a fan. McLaren at the moment is NOWHERE. Maybe they are the RedBull miracle of 2014, going to Australia and be competitive. Sure, why not. But as of now, they are as nobody as last year. So, if you think Bouiller and Dennis are not hiding their huge concerns by stating rubbish like this, then you are wrong. Desperation brings to revolutions and revolutions can bring other disasters. I hope they get competitive as a sportsman, this is for sure but now it’s just marketing

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