McLaren's Eric Boullier has said that the team spent so much time trying to simply make the car work that it gave up on certain aspects of trying to compete
McLaren’s reliability hasn’t been great in testing so far. There were issues in the first test, the team lost much of the morning session on Tuesday to a car problem, and there was yet another failure this morning. It’s hardly the time for McLaren fans to find a panic station just yet, but seeing the McLaren team suffering with reliability at this stage, regardless of the context of Honda moving, is a bit concerning.
It makes these comments from the McLaren’s Racing Director Eric Boullier seem poorly timed in hindsight. He recently revealed the clear extent of frustration McLaren felt around Honda when they were in partnership, telling RACER:
“It sounds crazy when I say this, but we spent the past three years doing some engineering and car maintenance, to the point we even parked the pit-stop training. We parked it because we couldn’t do everything.
Now we have a car, we have to make it work, but once the car works it’s just now focused on being the best team, finding performance everywhere. That’s the right mindset. I find myself very excited as well, and actually more than usual. I think I have been a pain in the neck because I have been running through the factory and on the workshop floor all the time going: ‘Come on, come on, come on! Let’s go!’”
We want to see McLaren competing and rekindling some of its status in F1 and it sounds like Boullier feels that McLaren was simply existing, rather than living, under the Honda partnership.
There’s an F1 saying that testing is the ideal time for the car to break down and suffer attrition so the team can find a solution prior to the sessions that matter. But for McLaren to be the team under this unwanted spotlight yet again is a consistency it does not want. At the least, we expect to see Boullier running around the MCL33 shouting ‘Come on, come, on, come on! Let’s go!’ because the team still has time to claw some winter test running time back. The lap tally needs to be higher.