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F1 Abu Dhabi GP: ‘Half happy’ McLaren-Honda is ‘closing the gap’

Eric Boullier is confident McLaren-Honda can make more significant strides in 2017 after progressing from ninth to sixth this year.
Eric Boullier says McLaren-Honda can be satisfied with its rate of progress over the last year and is confident it will continue making significant strides in 2017.

On the back of its worst-ever season in F1 last year as it struggled for results with a Honda power unit that was both down on power and lacking reliability, McLaren enjoyed an upturn in form this season with regular points' finishes en route to sixth overall.

Though Boullier admits it is not a performance the team can be ultimately pleased with given its lofty targets, he says is shows it is well on the way to returning to the front.

“We were ninth in the championship last year and we are now sixth so we want to close the gap in performance and we want to win races in the short term as well as the long term. There is some progress, we know what we are doing and know where we have to be to win.

“We have seen the progress and obviously we are not happy where we are today but we know we are on the move and we are closing the gap. Even if race by race we can have some differences generally if you look at the trend over the past two years we are closing.”

With McLaren confident the upcoming change in regulations for 2017 will see it back to podium winning ways, Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa echoed Boullier sentiments by saying he was with the improvements but they are not yet enough.

“Half happy, of course we are not satisfied with our current position,” he said. “Our staff, including all at McLaren and at the Sakura base, have done a good job and I am very proud of them. We are not satisfied with the current position.”

McLaren-Honda will feature a revised driver line-up in 2017 with Stoffel Vandoorne replacing Jenson Button and joining Fernando Alonso.

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theoldgitspeaks

November 30, 2016 1:06 PM

Half happy is not half good enough and I rather think there will be major changes at McLaren now that Zak Brown is in charge. I doubt Boullier will keep his job and there will be other changes to the race team as well, shame that Button walked away but there is only so many times that you want to drive a crap car and that told in the end. Alonso has it all to do but wether the car will be any good is anybodies guess, my best guess is a couple of podiums and some promising showings but NO wins, they have too far to go for that.



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