McLaren’s Eric Boullier: “We know there’s definite potential in our package”

The MCL33 has potential, according to Eric Boullier
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Eric Boullier admitted the start of the final day of pre-season testing was a difficult one for the McLaren F1 Team as they were force to change the engine on board of Fernando Alonso’s MCL33, but they were able to recover and complete ninety-three laps in a condensed afternoon session.

Boullier, McLaren’s racing director, was pleased that the test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya concluded on a positive note, but the power unit that suffered the turbo issue will be sent back to the Renault factory for analysis.

“After a difficult start to the day this morning, I’m pleased that we’ve rounded off both today’s programme and the two weeks of pre-season testing on a positive and productive note,” said Boullier.

“We suffered a turbo issue in the power unit early on in our morning programme, which we believe was linked to the chassis oil leak on Tuesday. We had put this turbo onto the car overnight after spotting something in the data on the current power unit during installation, and to save time with investigation elected to swap the two elements. 

“Unfortunately, this one failed – although the two issues aren’t linked – and it will be sent back to Viry for further analysis and investigation. Nevertheless, the guys and girls in the garage did a phenomenal job to change this new configuration of power unit in four hours so that Fernando could return to the cockpit.”

Boullier was pleased that when the MCL33 did get on track, they were able to complete a good number of laps and show they do have some pace in the car, with Alonso’s best the third fastest lap of the whole winter.

“In the afternoon session the engineers worked hard to condense our programme to provide us with as much track running as possible, and the whole team pulled together to get a significant amount of work done this afternoon,” said Boullier.

“Fernando put in some solid laps, and he – and we – have ended the day happy with 93 laps completed after a pretty challenging start. We now will return to the factory armed with massive amounts of data to analyse before we head to Australia in two short weeks.

“We know we have things to work on, but we also know there’s definite potential in our package, and we’ll be working hard to maximise our reliability so that we have the chance to show our true performance in Melbourne.”

Boullier took the time to thank the whole team for their efforts across the past two weeks of testing, and they leave Spain with a lot of data to trawl through ahead of the new season, considerably more information than they had twelve months ago ahead of their final season with Honda.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the team for their hard work over the past few weeks,” said Boullier. “Despite the problems we’ve faced, we’re taking home an extra 810km of data back to Woking compared to this time last year, which will help with our analysis and inform the direction we will take with car set-up when we arrive in Melbourne.

“I know I can speak for the whole team when I say that we already can’t wait to go racing.”