McLaren’s Eric Boullier optimistic about Japanese GP chances

Suzuka Circuit, Japan. Friday 07 October 2016. Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 Honda. World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _ONZ3431

McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier saw the Friday practices at the Japanese Grand Prix as somewhat mixed for the team.

Boullier watched as Fernando Alonso finished inside the top ten in both sessions despite an off at Spoon during the first session that saw him damage his rear wing against the barriers, while Jenson Button was unable to match his team-mate, finishing thirteenth and sixteenth respectively.

“It’s always fantastic to arrive at Suzuka: the colour, the fans, the banners, the gifts, they all add up to making the experience special every single time,” commented Boullier. “This year is no different, and it’s been extremely encouraging to see the rising number of people wearing McLaren-Honda caps and T-shirts in the grandstands today.”

The Frenchmen then went on to explain what happened on track to the two McLaren-Honda drivers, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

“Turning our attention to the racetrack itself, Fernando suffered a small ‘off’ during the morning’s session – an unexpected lack of grip between the two Spoon corners caused him to lose the rear end and skim the barriers,” he explained. “Fortunately, the damage was minimal – just a broken rear-wing end-plate – and caused minimal delay.

Despite the slightly disappointing day for the drivers, Boullier remained optimistic about the progress the team is making and is looking forwards to tomorrow’s qualifying session.

“In the afternoon, both drivers worked hard to improve balance and driveability. While not completely successful, the changes enabled us to make progress, and we go into the evening looking to improve our cars’ set-up further ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.”