Formula 1

McLaren proposed solutions to Honda before parting ways – Eric Boullier

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Eric Boullier - McLaren, Toto Wolff - Mercedes and Yusuke Hasegawa - Honda. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier has revealed that the Woking based squad offered the Japanese manufacturer two solutions to try and end their engine woes, once they realised they were again headed for a troublesome season.

McLaren were aware that Honda had not been able to up the level of performance to anticipated levels as early as winter testing for the 2017 season, and quickly moved to come up with possible alternative ways of rectifying the situation, as Boullier explained in an interview with French publication Auto Hebdo recently.

“At the first tests of 2017, we realised serious problems were waiting for us.

“We began to get nervous and started looking for solutions that could improve the situation.

“As a last resort, we were ready to offer that Honda skips the season while it improves and McLaren would use some other engines for that period.”

The Frenchman did not elaborate on which power unit they would have made use of had Honda agreed to that suggestion, but Mercedes would likely have had an engine going spare following the sudden collapse of Manor Racing MRT in January 2017.

Another scenario put forward by the Woking based squad was to bring in outside assistance to help the Japanese manufacturer make inroads on the issues.

However, neither fix was deemed plausible by Honda, and in the end time was not on McLaren’s side, with the culmination of their partnership the only viable option.

“Honda engineers and their colleagues from Mercedes could do a technical cooperation.

“Or forming our own group of specialists in the engine area made up of different companies to help Honda find more efficient solutions more quickly.

“Unfortunately, none of the proposals were properly explored and as a result we ran out of arguments.

“We had to come to the conclusion that there was no other way out except for the termination of the cooperation.”

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