Eric Boullier reserving judgement over McLaren’s 2018 season hopes


Eric Boullier
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Eric Boullier has reminded everyone that it is “still early days” in the McLaren F1 Team‘s partnership with Renault Sport and is remaining quiet over his predictions for the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Boullier did say that McLaren have “high expectations” for the Renault relationship but emphasised that it’s only the first day of the first winter test.

McLaren completed 51 laps and ended the day in seventh place – courtesy of Fernando Alonso. However, the Spaniard did lose time in the morning session due to a right rear wheel nut failure on the MCL33 at the final corner that sent him into the gravel.

“While we have high expectations for our new partnership with Renault, we will not make any predictions now for the rest of the season after only one day of testing,” said Boullier.

“This is the first day, it’s still early days and we need to assess our car. We need to feed the information we’ve gathered back to Woking, and see how the car correlates with what has been drawn up in the design office.”

Boullier said that working with Renault will be very different to working with Honda, but noted that the base element is still the same – the power unit regulations. Boullier has previous with Renault, he was the Renault F1 Team and Lotus F1 Team team principal before moving to McLaren, and says that both camps are working well together.

“Naturally, we’re learning about working with Renault,” he said.

“Obviously the language is different, the switch positions are different, but it’s still a V6 1.6-litre engine with energy to manage.

“There are different ways to do that, but so far so good. The relationship is good, and the troops in both camps are happy to work together.”

Boullier hopes for more dry running

Cold conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya restricted running in the afternoon session and with wet weather predicted at points over the next three days, Boullier understands that track time may be limited further. However, he remained positive with the opening day’s work – even with Alonso’s off.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t take full advantage of the afternoon session because of the weather, and the forecast is not looking good for the rest of the week,” he added.

“Dry running is more useful for testing of course, but even in the wet there are still a lot of systems to check on the car, so still a lot of work to do that could be done even if it’s raining.

“The only downside from today is that our wheel nut issue cost us track time, but we’ve returned to running our programme and we’re happy with the learning we’re doing from our new package.”