McLaren-Honda on the verge of fighting in Formula 1's top 10

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier is convinced the team is on the verge of having a car fast enough to regularly compete in the top 10 of the Formula 1 grid

McLaren-Honda on the verge of fighting in Formula 1's top 10

While McLaren's step forward from its disastrous 2015 season was not enough to score points in the Australian Grand Prix, Boullier believes upcoming improvements planned for the MP4-31 will propel it into the top half of the field.

Australian Grand Prix driver ratings

"The the pace of the car is good, very encouraging, and we know we have something to fight with this year," Boullier told Autosport.

"We know we have a few things coming in the pipeline which should make us a regular contender in Q3.

"If you are regularly in Q3 then it's a different story. You can fight for points."

Boullier believes both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button could have scored points in Australia, but Alonso's spectacular accident and a poor tyre choice for Button during the resulting red flag period took McLaren out of contention.

"We got it wrong with the tyre choice," said Boullier.

"The degradation was too high, we suffered with graining and then we lost the pace.

"When we went to the medium tyres we were back into the right place, but by then it was too late as we were stuck behind [Felipe] Nasr.

"We couldn't pass, even though we were much faster."

McLaren also encountered difficulties with radio transmission, although only due to technical issues, and not via the new clampdown on pit-to-car traffic.

"It was a bit of a headache," smiled Boullier.

"But we were lucky. We had a little break from the FIA.

"I don't want to go into the details, but when the FIA sent some signals, some cars had a problem with the dashboard, like us.

"We lost all communication with the dashboard, so we were allowed to communicate a couple of [items of] information.

"Normally we would not have been allowed, so there was a lot of brainstorming on the pitwall."

shares
comments
Australian Grand Prix driver ratings
Previous article

Australian Grand Prix driver ratings

Next article

Red Bull: We can take it to Ferrari in F1 2016

Red Bull: We can take it to Ferrari in F1 2016
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022