10 June 2015
Boullier: It’s key to keep morale
McLaren's Eric Boullier is confident that the current frustrations besetitng the team won't last forever.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier insists that Fernando Alonso's frustration will only be a problem if the team gives it cause to continue into a second season.
The Spaniard voiced his displeasure at being asked to save fuel in the early stages of a Canadian Grand Prix already fraught with problems for the McLaren-Honda partnership, claiming that he just wanted to be allowed to race while he had the chance. In the end, both McLaren's retired with exhaust problems, nullifying the need to preserve fuel, but doing little to quell Alonso's ire.
“I saw him after the race and he was okay,” Boullier said of the double world champion, “To be fair, I think you need to understand that he wants to race and you have to save the tyres and save the fuel – there is so much fuel to be saved. Then you go into another territory where, the more fuel you save, actually the less you charge the battery, so you have problems charging the battery and then the tyres cool down and it's just a mess.... He was just frustrated.
“If it is still like this next year then, yes, I am sure he will turn mad – but I don't think it will. You guys see him regularly, see that he is happy with the team, where he is now. He wants to win, he wants to race, he wants to compete, that is for sure, but, as winners, we have the same agenda anyway.
“He told me the other day that he is considering this year as a testing year just to be ready next year, so at least he doesn't put himself into a corner or situation where he would feel frustrated.”
While, away from the cockpit, both Alonso and Button continue to present a unified PR front, Boullier admits that the need to keep chins up runs much deeper into the organisation.
“It's very key [to keep morale up],” he confirmed, “I think everyone is aware of the situation – it is very clear and transparent – but we now expect Honda to bring some solutions as, in terms of the team, McLaren, I think we have no issues. Everybody has been informed, knows where we are and what happens.”
Asked whether the need to bring Honda up to speed, and potentially using McLaren resources to do so, is going to have an impact on the development of next year's car, Boullier admitted that it was a concern.
“Ummmm, maybe...,” he conceded, “It is one of the internal debates we have regularly, but we have to think about the schedule for next year. Obviously we need to recover, but we need to make sure there are no issues for next year.”
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