Eric Boullier says McLaren-Honda's lack of pace in the opening round of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship can be explained in part by a deliberate decision to take a conservative approach.

The team's much anticipated first race together for 23 years was preceded by a troubled winter build-up and the Australian Grand Prix would prove similarly difficult, Jenson Button finishing two laps off the leaders and Kevin Magnussen failing to start altogether.

Despite this, Boullier says there are positives to be had from Button reaching the chequered flag having failed to string more than 12 laps together during testing, but admits it had to turn the engine down to do so, thus explaining its distant finish.

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"We started to do a test session, on top of this we are now in a season so we don't want to do anything stupid with the engine and blow anything, so we were very cautious. But we wanted to put some mileage on the car and run the full race professionally."

Fernando Alonso is due to return to the MP4-30 for the second round of the season in Malaysia.