Eric Boullier says that the issue that caused McLaren to lose several hours of track time on Tuesday was a “£2 problem” caused by a broken exhaust clip.

“It was a stupid bolt that broke in the exhaust, so it’s a £2 problem that cost us a lot of track time,” he explained. “Everything was burnt in the back of the car so we had to rebuild the gearbox and the back end; it didn’t cost us much to revise the design, it’s more about the track time that we lost.

After the problems faced on Tuesday, Wednesday’s test was a non-starter with bad weather resulting in no meaningful running from any of the teams. With McLaren’s schedule effectively compacted down to just three days, Boullier explains that it’s been as productive as they could have hoped give the circumstances.

“Today [we have learned] a lot. Finally we get rid of the bad weather and mechanical glitches in the car so we could follow our programme.,” he said.

“We have compressed it to give some priority to some items, but today we are now starting to gather some data on aero and even work on some mechanical change now, so it’s a long process obviously and we try to learn as much as we can.”

Fernando Alonso
Alonso / McLaren – Image Credit: Octane Photographic

After making the decision to sever ties with Honda at the end of last season, McLaren will begin 2018 with Renault as its new power unit supplier, and despite early signs that the car is performing well, Boullier was keen to avoid drawing comparisons between the two.

“It’s difficult to compare. When you’re a works team, you obviously have more people here with you or you might have people as well going to Japan. With Renault, they have a very efficient system to [communicate] with all the teams,” he said. “It’s quite easy and efficient.

“It doesn’t matter how much the switch in engine brings in performance or lap time, it’s more about the absolute performance in terms as far as McLaren is concerned. We want to fight at the front and that’s what is important.

Images courtesy: Octane Photographic