McLaren expecting ‘uphill struggle’ to score points in Japan – Boullier

Jenson Button - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

After seeing his drivers qualify fifteenth and seventeenth for the Japanese Grand Prix, Eric Boullier admitted it has been a disappointing weekend for the McLaren team at the home event of engine suppliers Honda.

The Racing Director of the Woking-based team saw Fernando Alonso qualify ahead of Jenson Button at Suzuka, but admitted the circuit is not just suited to their MP4-31, and believes it would be an uphill struggle to get anywhere near the points on Sunday.

“Clearly, we’re disappointed to have qualified only fifteenth and seventeenth here at Suzuka, host circuit to Honda’s home race,” said Boullier.   “Having said that, both Fernando and Jenson drove good laps, and ended up separated by just a few hundredths of a second.

“Sadly, today, that was the difference between progressing to Q2 and not doing so, which is why Jenson failed by the very narrowest of margins.

“Suzuka is a great racetrack – a dramatic and challenging one in fact – but the truth is that our car is ill-suited to its long straights and mid-to-high-speed corners.

“As always, we’ll do our best tomorrow in an effort to score world championship points, but to be honest it’ll probably be an uphill struggle.”