McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says part of McLaren's difficulties stem from being unable to “switch on” the tyres at all tracks, although he still feels the chassis is more or less there.
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button made the most of a wet-dry Monaco Grand Prix last weekend to finish fifth and ninth respectively, with the former even saying he thought a podium
might be possible at one point. Despite that, however, Boullier knows that McLaren Honda has much work to do to be able to challenge the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, and that part of it is related to exploiting the tyres.
“It's a good question I guess,” he replied, when asked if he still believes the McLaren chassis is where he thought it was.
“If you look at the public data which shows the GPS traces on some tracks yes we are [right up there], so it is just a question of... if your package this weekend means you are struggling to switch your tyres on and that's obviously cost us a lot in their [the drivers] confidence or their ability to drive the car to the limit, so we can't exploit the car. But in some other tracks the package will work.”
Quizzed on if this is due to the high pressures Pirelli insists on, and if the other teams have found a way around it, he added: “Well I don't know what the other teams are doing to be honest. We may have an opinion or some suspicion but we have to focus on our own problems.
“I guess we are not the only team in this scenario or issue to get the best out of the tyres so we are working on it to try and work around this starting pressure, which is very high and clearly hurting the grip of the car. Also it is making the tyres grain much easier than necessary.”