When asked of his target number of laps for Sunday’s final day of F1 testing, Eric Boullier replied with the optimistic reply of “More than yesterday”, pertaining to Friday’s session, where Jenson Button notched 101 laps in the MP4-30.
This comes after another troublesome day for the sole Honda-powered entrant on the grid, where returnee Kevin Magnussen managed 39 laps, before an oil leak cut short their programme.
“Obviously the day has stopped a bit too early for us. We had an oil leak quite deep inside the chassis, which we had to investigate, so we decided to shut the engine down because we want to do more mileage tomorrow. We were a little bit cautious.
Boullier remained upbeat about the test, asserting that McLaren and Honda’s re-forced alliance is a long-term plan.
“I would not be so negative, we would like to do 100 laps every day, but last year it was the same situation for other teams. We want to win as early as possible, so for that to happen, we have to be ambitious now. “Yes, it’s true that we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted and that is going to hurt us on the performance side, but we will cope.
Boullier was also quick to dismiss concerns that Honda were solely responsible for the team’s woes this winter.
“There is no problem coming from the power unit or the chassis, we still need a full assessment. We had some problems around the auxiliaries of the engine and because we have not put enough mileage we can’t look at all the issues with the chassis. Everything is working to plan but reliability is still a problem.
The Frenchman, who joined the team from Lotus for the start of 2014 estimated that the first races outside of Europe may be challenging.
“I don’t know how long that will take to improve. He said.
“I think it is going to take a few races but at least by Europe we will be more competitive. We won’t be as ready for Melbourne as we would like but we will do our best. We have covered most of the issues and most of the systems.”
McLaren have to wait until Melbourne to see not only if their car is in good enough condition to compute, but also driver Fernando Alonso, who still remains quiet after his crash last Sunday.