McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier seemed accepting that the Autodromo Nazionale Monza track was always going to be a weak circuit for the team, but was still impressed by the reliability of both cars that ran without problem all weekend.
As mentioned by both drivers beforehand, it was estimated that the McLaren-Honda would struggle at the Italian Grand Prix, simply down to the power deficit in comparison to other teams. Boullier reiterated this, commenting that:
“We always knew that Monza was going to be one of the toughest races of the year for us from an overall car performance point of view, so the fact that we finished 12th and 14th today isn’t a surprise. Having said that, both our cars ran flawlessly, reliable from lights to flag, and our race pace was reasonable throughout.”
The Frenchman also spoke of the close racing between the two McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, that ended with Button finishing ahead of the Spaniard.
“Jenson and Fernando had a good dice at one point – hard but fair – and I’m sure their battle must have made for great viewing for TV viewers and grandstand spectators alike.”
However, Boullier did mention that such wheel to wheel racing did leave the team in the garage a little on edge, saying: “It sometimes looked a little too close for complete comfort from our pit-wall, but McLaren always lets its drivers race, and rightly so. After all, our drivers are both super-experienced professionals and they know exactly what they’re doing. Equally, we may be a very serious and focused organisation, but we should never forget that we’re also in the entertainment business.”
There was also mention of the McLaren team’s best accolade of the weekend – the somewhat engineered fastest lap set by Alonso.
“Talking of entertainment, we were happy to allow Fernando to make an extra pit-stop and take on a new set of Supersoft tyres just before the end of the race, the result of which was that he was able to record the afternoon’s fastest lap – the 22nd of his Formula 1 career.”
Again, similarly to both drivers, Boullier is looking ahead to the remainder of the season, and appears optimistic that the next Grand Prix, Singapore, will allow the car to be more competitive.
“Next we go to Singapore, a diametrically different kind of racetrack. We’re always aware of the danger of over-promising, so I won’t do so; but it’s likely that the twisty streets of Marina Bay will suit our car rather better than the wide-open curves and flat-out straights of the Autodromo di Monza have this afternoon.”
“We’ll be gunning for points, make no mistake about that.”