McLaren happy with aero development progress so far


Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team - Spanish GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier has said that the Woking based squad are happy with the development progress of the MCL32, following the aerodynamic upgrades implemented so far this season.

The Frenchman indicated that the success rate of the updates has been high, in stark contrast to the difficulties they have had endured in terms of Honda engine performance and reliability, this year.

McLaren are the only team yet to score a point in 2017, but are getting closer to achieving that feat with every round. A significant upgrade ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, which included new aerodynamic parts, as well as updates to Honda’s fuel and intake system, allowed driver Fernando Alonso to qualify inside the top ten for the first time this campaign.

That strong performance on the Saturday in Barcelona, was then followed up in Monaco last time out, when team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne and one race stand-in Jenson Button, were able to get both McLaren cars into Q3.

Race day has not been so successful for the Woking based team however, and grid penalties in Monte Carlo made it an extremely difficult race for the McLaren pair, who both crashed out of the grand prix.

Despite their lack of scoring potential, Boullier believes McLaren are headed in the right direction, as he explained to Autosport.com recently.

“As the engineers would say, ‘as per map’ – [we’re] very happy. It’s the step we wanted to achieve.

“The correlation is amazing. We have 95% of what we were expecting, so this is brilliant.

“Now we trust our process. It’s not only aero, it’s also chassis, suspension – everything is as per process.

“Every time we put a milestone somewhere we know what to expect.

“The natural tendency is a deviation, but we are happy we have achieved what we wanted to achieve through our new processes.

“We can trust the way we work now.”

The success achieved with their chassis upgrades, has given the Woking based squad confidence that, should Honda be able to find the extra power and reliability needed to quash their current deficit; they will be ahead of the midfield pack in terms of performance.

Although they are struggling on paper to get those much needed, points paying results, Boullier is happy that if they continue to meet their targets, they will eventually make that extra step needed to lift them forward.

“We have set the reference up, so now we know what we have achieved.

“For us it was internal targets to see if our procedures, our process works – and it works, so we are now very confident in our capacity to achieve our next targets.

“The car will keep on developing but we are happy with the platform.”