McLaren Formula 1 team feared Honda would cause a staff exodus

Eric Boullier admits he was concerned staff would leave McLaren when it became clear in pre-season Formula 1 testing that Honda would struggle for third successive year

McLaren Formula 1 team feared Honda would cause a staff exodus

Honda had revamped its engine design over the winter, but a problem with the oil system at testing was just the first of a series of issues that led to repeated breakdowns.

It was at that point racing director Boullier realised 2017 would be another difficult season and he was concerned about the impact that would have on the morale of the team.

The design flaws that killed McLaren-Honda

"I went to the management, showed them the data and told them that we cannot accept another year like this," Boullier said in an interview with the official F1 website.

"We had a tough first year with Honda, we had a tough second year, and had expected progress good enough to get us back to where we belong - but Barcelona showed that we would go backwards and that was absolutely not an option.

"I obviously warned them about the consequences of another year of no results, where you keep everybody afloat.

"We have a new team, which has been reconstructed in the last three years: new people, very good new people - competitive people who used to win - and the danger was we'd lose them.

"The perception of a team is still very much based on drivers, because they are the faces of the team, but for me the real danger was losing those people.

"That was the discussion at the very beginning of the season."

McLaren and Honda ultimately agreed to part ways, with McLaren switching to Renault power for 2018 and Honda teaming up with Toro Rosso.

Boullier said no personnel ultimately left the team and there is now confidence that McLaren can move up the grid after the strong performance of the chassis in 2017.

"When you look at what we have achieved in terms of car performance - chassis performance - we know that we are back on the podium, at the top," he said.

"That for me is a huge reward - that we have achieved this in difficult circumstances.

"The other positive I take from the past three years is that the team is really joined now.

"We have been suffering so much for three years, but at the same time nobody has left the team.

"Everybody agreed that this team will be winning again.

"There is a huge trust and confidence in what we are trying to achieve and because of that we have gone up, up, up, keeping developing this car."

shares
comments
Female racers 'disheartened' by Jorda FIA Commission appointment

Previous article

Female racers 'disheartened' by Jorda FIA Commission appointment

Next article

Daniel Ricciardo believes he was 'too sensitive' to 2017 F1 cars

Daniel Ricciardo believes he was 'too sensitive' to 2017 F1 cars
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021