7 July 2015
F1 British Grand Prix: McLaren feeling pinch as it mounts pressure on Honda
McLaren admits its lack of success with Honda is having wider ramifications, suggesting the two companies have different timeframes for success
McLaren admits the lack of results through its much publicised collaboration with Honda is now beginning to have wider ramifications off the track, with a drop in revenue forecast and sponsors turning away.
Though McLaren picked up only its second top ten finish of the season at the British Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso getting off the mark in tenth, the driver and the team has made it clear that it is not a result to necessarily celebrate all the same.
Indeed, with the half-way point in the season looming, McLaren-Honda's lack of obvious gains in terms of performance and reliability has prompted a slight change of tune from McLaren bosses, who made it clear at Silverstone that though it remains committed to the long-term nature of its project, it wants to see more short-term steps forward.
“I keep telling (Honda motorsport boss) Yasuhisa Arai-san every day that we need to be successful as soon as possible,” said Eric Boullier.
“We don't have five years of pain. Like any partnership in the world, we are not going to answer to you what we are telling each other behind the scenes. We have to face the world together as one team but the pain is real, there is nothing we can hide.
“We put pressure on Honda, they put pressure on us, maybe us more than them so far because we need to have more performance and, from the package, car and engine. Today, more than 50 per cent, and much more, will come from the power unit. Everybody knows this, they know this, we know this, so this is why we put pressure – to try and catch up.
“It is true that there is a timing issue because Honda, although it is in F1, its main business is selling cars, while we are in F1 to win race, so we have to make sure the timing of both projects are aligned.”
Having not run with a prominent sponsor since Vodafone ended its deal at the end of the 2013 season, McLaren has previously spoken of the desire to get another backer on board, but admits the lack of results is hurting its chances of bringing new revenue to the team.
“You establish a brand by your success and repeating success, and McLaren, with its wins and championships, has clearly established a brand of excellence.
“Commercially, it does hurt because obviously a lot of companies are interested in joining us but some people in their organisation question the results, or lack of results, and I don't think we can wait for very long anymore.
“We have good forecasts for next year, but its going to hurt us in terms of revenue and we will have to find a way to curb this.”
Alonso's tenth place finish in Silverstone sees McLaren with a tally of five points, which leaves it ninth in the Constructors' standings, 14 points behind eighth place Toro Rosso.
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