McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says a wide range of updates to its MCL33 Formula 1 car will be introduced at next month’s the Spanish Grand Prix but has kept faith in its current design philosophy despite performance issues in qualifying.

After switching to Renault engines for 2018, McLaren has enjoyed a jump up the pecking order but compared to its fellow Renault-powered squads has suffered a drop off in speed in qualifying trim.

While both Red Bull and Renault have been frequent challengers in Q3 in qualifying this year, neither McLaren has been able to challenge for the top ten shootout over the opening three rounds.

McLaren held a management meeting in Bahrain to assess its poor qualifying performances and Boullier concedes the Woking-based team will need to wait until its next large upgrade push to arrive before being confident of fixing its current issues.

“We didn’t turn up in Australia with the car we wanted because we were delayed for various reasons,” Boullier said in China. “A lot of parts are on the way to hit the track, for logistic reason it’s very likely it’s going to be Barcelona and from that point we will see performance-wise where we are.

“We have a lot coming in the pipeline so hopefully it’s going to help us catch up a little bit, the gap we have.

“You can see the performance on Sunday is different to the performance on Saturday so we have to work on addressing these issues on Saturday. Everyone is working hard and is committed but it’s definitely not what everybody was expecting but it’s not easy to step up and catch the top three.”

Despite its concerns in qualifying, McLaren has produced a potent package for the opening three races in 2018 with five points finishes out of a possible six between its two cars, while Fernando Alonso has already scored more points this year (22) than his complete haul from last season (17).

Boullier has underlined the team’s confidence in its car design philosophy, having seen both Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne find a balance and comfortable set up with the MCL33, but is eager to see the updates set for Spain deliver the required performance push.

“I think the car has no nastiness in terms of the design,” he said. “We just need to make the car faster around the corner and in the straight line.”

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