Eric Boullier insists the McLaren F1 Team has solved the reliability issues that affected their running during pre-season testing, and the racing director of the Woking-based team is hopeful the team can hit the ground running this weekend in Australia, the first race with their new Renault Sport engine suppliers.
Both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne lost track time due to numerous issues with their MCL33, but the engineers back in the factory have worked on a fix in time for the season opening race of 2018, and further work has also been done to make the package stronger.
“A new season, and a new chapter for McLaren in 2018,” said Boullier. “With the many developments within our team over the past six months or so, it brings me great excitement and pride to see everything coming together and the new McLaren Renault MCL33 hitting the track in Melbourne.
“We didn’t have the reliability we had hoped for in winter testing, but all the issues we faced have since been addressed back at the factory. There’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our quest to extract the maximum pace we can from our new package from the first race.”
The last time a McLaren finished on the podium was in Australia back in 2014, when Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button finished second and third, but hopes are high heading into the new campaign, their first with Renault after three unspectacular years with Honda.
Boullier knows that the team cannot expect ‘miracle’ results straight away, but everyone is excited to get the new year underway at a venue where the fans show great enthusiasm.
“Melbourne is a venue that the whole team loves going back to, to kick off the new season,” said Boullier. “It’s a vibrant city, the fans are incredibly enthusiastic and there’s that palpable ‘back-to-school’ feeling of anticipation, where nobody really knows the form book until the lights go out on Sunday.
“We’re not expecting miracles to be worked overnight – far from it – but what we do know is that we’ll give it our all this weekend.”