Eric Boullier has brushed off suggestions his position as McLaren’s Formula 1 racing director could be at risk, saying “no orders are needed” as the team looks to return to the front of the field.

McLaren split with Honda at the end of 2017 after three difficult seasons together, switching to a Renault engine supply which it hoped would spark a resurgence to the front of the grid.

The team last finished on the podium more than four years ago, with its most recent victory coming at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

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While McLaren has already beaten its total points haul from 2017 after just five races this year, it is still not fighting with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull at the front of the pack.

Despite finishing eighth in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was lapped by five cars, including both Red Bulls that use the same Renault power unit.

The team’s failure to return to the front of the pack has led to speculation about Boullier’s future as McLaren restructures its top management, with technical chiefs Tim Goss, Matt Morris and Peter Prodromou reported to have left the team.

“No orders are needed. We know what we need to do,” Boullier said when asked if he’d received an end-of-season target from his superiors at McLaren to ensure he remained in his role.

“We had to improve the reliability, we had to improve the performance. We have now some other teams using the same power units, so at least we have some references. This is what we are working on. It’s a long way to go.

“Spain was another step, but any future races, we keep bringing development. Modern Formula 1 is not about bringing a magic package. It’s bringing step by step and incrementally a lot of performance through the season.

“Everybody is doing the same. We have to work harder than the others to get where you want to be.”

Boullier stressed that he believes he is still the right man to lead McLaren, pointing to his track record of helping teams rebuild through his motorsport career.

“It’s hard work. There’s always a lot of expectation, obviously from McLaren and from a lot of people,” Boullier said.

“I think in the past, I’ve been managing, rebuilding, restructuring a few teams, and I won with all of them, in any category I was.”

Boullier refused to comment on reports of the technical departures, only saying he had “belief in the troops and the people we have” before discussing the need for restructure at McLaren.

“We are trying to be the best, and being the best also means looking at how we can be more efficient in terms of our organisation,” Boullier added.

“There is some constant improvement in every team as well. It’s part of life of a Formula 1 team, to keep looking at how to deliver better and more.”

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