McLaren’s Eric Boullier: “We‘re encouraged by the progress we’re making”

by Paul Hensby

Eric Boullier welcomes Jenson Button back into the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team for the Monaco Grand Prix, and he admits that the teams focus is divided across Monte Carlo and Indianapolis this weekend.

The Racing Director of the Woking-based team has Button in alongside Stoffel Vandoorne in Monaco as Fernando Alonso races in the Indianapolis 500, and he says the final weekend of May is significant for the team on both sides of the Atlantic.

Boullier is happy to be welcoming Button back into the fold in Monaco, and he feels the 2009 World Champion has been doing a great job in the simulator ahead of his first on-track experience in the MCL32, while he is excited to see Alonso performing so well at Indianapolis.

“The Monaco Grand Prix is often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Formula 1, and it’s easy to see why,” said Boullier. “It’s every bit the spectacle you see on TV, and, due to the traditional ‘rest day’ on Friday which sees the schedule for practice shift forward by a day, the Principality is always a buzzing hive of excitement from early in the week.

“Of course, for McLaren Honda, this final weekend in May is even more significant than usual this year. For the first time in recent history, we’ll be supporting two teams on opposite sides of the world, with Fernando taking part in his first-ever Indy 500 with McLaren Honda Andretti.

“In the famous Monaco paddock, we welcome the return of Jenson, who we are all looking forward to working with again, and who is already doing a sterling job deputising for Fernando, having already completed stints in our simulator in preparation.”

Boullier says McLaren will be bringing more updates to Monaco after doing so in Spain, and he is hoping there is more progress this weekend after being encouraged by the performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, he is hoping that for the first time in 2017, the team can see both drivers finish the race, with at least one driver failing to finish every race so far.

“From a trackside point of view, we’ll be bringing more updates to the car this weekend, which we hope will return positive feedback to mirror what we saw in Spain,” said Boullier. “Despite our result there, we‘re encouraged by the progress we’re making, and hope in Monaco we’ll have the opportunity to execute a more representative performance than those we’ve managed in recent races.

“Of course, the first priority is to finish the race with both cars, and work through the best possible strategy in order to give ourselves any fighting chance of a decent result. In Monaco, you can’t take anything for granted, and it’s certainly all to play for.”

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