McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa has approached working with the Formula 1 team in a very different manner than his predecessor Yasuhisa Arai.
Boullier has worked well with Hasegawa following his appointment as the head of the current programme in March, with McLaren showing improved performance in 2016, competing for points on a regular basis, but they still lack the horsepower from the Honda power unit.
Boullier spoke to Autosport about the partnership between McLaren and Honda, “It is a completely different approach with Hasegawa-san.
“I’ve a very good relationship with him. We meet very regularly, face to face. That is not only at the track where everybody is busy and has their own duties, but we meet very regularly anyway, and he is open, transparent, pushy, clever.
“We are starting to be co-operative and collaborative as well, so you can see some projects where McLaren is part of it, but we hide behind because everybody is doing his own duties. But it’s working, and that’s the key.”
McLaren and Honda are still pushing to find more performance and Boullier feels the team are not far from making a breakthrough.
“We had to push first to make our car good enough at a certain level, and we still have a lot of room in making the car better, and we know that, which is good,” said Boullier. “With aero, suspension or whatever, we know what we have to do, and we know where to go.
“Honda is now starting to pick up, and that is why we had a good upgrade at Silverstone. We have a lot of development possible, which we can’t use now, because, for example, it brings downforce, but it brings drag – and today we don’t need drag on our car if we want to stay competitive.
“It’s like we have a couple of developments on the shelves, but we can’t bring them now because we want Honda to step up one step, so we go one step, Honda one step, and so on.”