McLaren regaining confidence in Barcelona F1 test, Boullier says

McLaren is regaining confidence after its first Formula 1 test session of 2016 proved much more successful than a year earlier, says its racing director Eric Boullier

Honda's works team completed just six laps on the opening day of 2015 running, when Fernando Alonso was 18 seconds off the pace.

By contrast Jenson Button covered 35 laps in the morning session alone on Monday as the MP4-31 made its debut, and was 2.8s off pacesetter Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

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Asked if McLaren's confidence had been restored, Boullier replied: "Yes. All the numbers we've found on the car are correlating with what expected, and if you base your winter work and expectations on simulations it's a good sign.

"It means our tools are working properly, so that means we know the car is better than last year."

He described the 35 laps of running - 31 below Lewis Hamilton's benchmark in the Mercedes - as "not the best of the best, but at least we have covered a decent part of the plan".

Poor Honda reliability in the firm's first season back in F1 was at the heart of McLaren's 2015 struggle.

When asked to give his initial feedback on the 2016 Honda engine, Boullier replied: "I'm not going to say anything about the engine except it was running this morning, so it's good.

"I think there have been some good improvements on [Honda's] side.

"Clearly they are on the right path. They have fixed a few issues that were hurting us last year, so it's good so far."

Button hands the car over to Alonso for Tuesday before returning to the cockpit on Wednesday.

Boullier added that Alonso's mood was optimistic going into the season.

"He was in the factory last week and was very happy with what he's seen of the car," he said.

"The trust level with us is good. He trusts the numbers.

"We told him we believe we will deliver and I'm happy now to report to him that the numbers are delivering."

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