McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier says there were a number of good points to take away from the Australian Grand Prix, despite driver Fernando Alonso having to retire from the race and Stoffel Vandoorne being classified in last place, and they hope to build on those in China this weekend.
“The Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park was undoubtedly a difficult grand prix for McLaren-Honda, but also an event from which we were able to take a number of positives.
“Our pace on Saturday was better than expected and Fernando in particular was able to take advantage of a higher grid position to give us more muscle during the race, until his unfortunate retirement.”
Boullier, who has never been one to shy away from the truth, is being very realistic in his expectations ahead of the Chinese race weekend however, and the Frenchman is predicting a tough slog for McLaren at a track that is set to exploit the weaknesses of the MCL32.
“Shanghai is known to be an unpredictable weekend for a number of reasons: it’s tough on cars, tyres and power units and the weather is often precarious, but I can predict that we won’t be as fortuitous with our pace, compared to our rivals, as we were in Australia.
“The characteristics of the Shanghai International Circuit are very different from Melbourne, and its long, fast straights will likely expose the weaknesses in our package more than Albert Park did.”
Nevertheless, Boullier promises the whole team will be giving it their all, despite their current problems, and finishing the race without any issues or stoppages will be their main area of focus this weekend.
“However, we will of course attack the race with our usual fighting spirit, and the most important thing will be to ensure reliability with both cars before focusing on performance.”