McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admits that it is unlikely that the Woking team will be able to evaluate the ongoing development of its MP4-29 at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
With both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen returning to the points for the first time in three races at the Monaco Grand Prix, despite any real upgrades being introduced in the Principality, McLaren heads to Montreal with a degree of optimism, but Boullier is quick to point out that there is little to compare between the two circuits, meaning that the team will not be able to accurately pinpoint its progress.
“Overall, it's still difficult to gauge exactly where we are,” the Frenchman admitted, “Both Monaco and Canada are very particular types of circuit, and don't really offer a true reflection of our current state of development. It would be nice to get some more points on the board, but I don't think we'll get a clear idea of how much we've progressed until we go back to Europe.”
Nevertheless, Boullier remains confident that both his current drivers remain capable of adding to the team's tally in Canada, even though Magnussen has yet to tackle the Ile Notre Dame circuit. After scoreless weekends in Bahrain, China and Spain, McLaren picked up nine points in Monaco, and could have had more had Magnussen not run into problems with both his power unit and an over-exuberant Kimi Raikkonen. The Dane remains ninth in the overall standings, one place and ten points behind Button, while McLaren currently shares fifth spot in the team standings with Williams.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the purest racetracks on the calendar, and one that invariably produces an unusual and unexpected result,” Boullier reflected, “At McLaren, of course, we fondly remember the 2011 race, when Jenson enjoyed one of his greatest, most memorable victories there.
“Despite our current lack of pace, Jenson continues to be an absolutely fantastic ambassador for the team. Not only is he a fantastic driver, but he's also somebody with the feel and experience to steer the team and give it direction for development. His input has been invaluable, and he remains a tireless contributor.
“Kevin, equally, has been a fantastic asset so far this season. He'll be keen for a problem-free weekend after a couple of niggling technical issues in the past two races. That's a shame, because they've robbed him of a couple of potentially strong points finishes, but he'll surely have a weekend less beset with undeserved mishap soon. And when that happens, I think people will be impressed by his pace, in both qualifying and the race, because it's clear that he's the complete package and that good results will inevitably therefore come in time.”