McLaren have become the butt of all jokes in the Barcelona testing with the car suffering major issues with respect to cooling, battery and the wheel nut.
The MCL33 has broken down multiple times during testing. leaving Alonso stranded on the track on all occasions and forcing him to stay in the garage while all the other drivers have been stacking up those laps, getting a feel of their new car.
McLaren had made the switch from Honda to Renault this year after successive seasons with reliability issues and while a change to Renault should have changed fortunes for them, it doesn’t look like it.
Boullier who was initially confident about McLaren’s chances even after the multiple halts early on in Test two, looked a little worried yesterday after yet another ‘turbo issue’ for the MCL33.
McLaren have apparently pushed the Renault packaging to the limit, making the car different from all the other Renault powered cars.
“We want to be competitive and we are ambitious,” he said.
“We have an ambitious design around the car and you can see that the car is a little bit different from the other Renault-engined cars.
“So far we had minor issues but I think that was because we didn’t do a good job enough to prepare the car.
“We were a little bit stretched in terms of lead time and delay – but these are our issues. Very quickly we are going to get back to normal.” he added.
Boullier confirmed that McLaren decided to be so ambitious as they wanted to stand out from their competitors and be aggressive in the way they approached the 2018 F1 season.
“Again, if you want to be competitive you have to be a bit aggressive and ambitious.
“Is it too much? I don’t think so. We just have to make sure we, in this strategy, leave us enough time to do everything. That’s the only point, I would say.” Boullier said.
The McLaren management is now not a 100% certain about their car’s reliability for the Australian Grand Prix because of the multiple stoppages that it suffered during testing.
“No. Not 100 percent sure because we have not run as much as we wanted, so there will be a higher risk of failure somewhere,” he said.
“Nevertheless we had only minor issues which were all different. A good rebuild of the car for Australia will help us to fix a few issues.”
Critics feel that the move from Honda to McLaren has maybe brought down the reliability index for McLaren, however, Boullier wants people to not write off the team so early in the season.
“Let’s wait and see,” Boullier said.
“If you judge based on a few issues on three days, it is better to wait a few races.
“There was a decision made [to join Honda] before I arrived in McLaren. The last three years was a difficult context and now we are trying to get McLaren back where it should be. Like anything you don’t do it in one day and there are maybe a few glitches.
“We have not lost our capability of designing fast cars and I hope you will see it on track soon. We have to be ambitious, and to be ambitious you have to take risks. All this we need to put everything back together and work together.” he concluded.
How do you think McLaren would perform this season?