Boullier using Grosjean experience to help Magnussen

2014 F1 season

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says Kevin Magnussen is going through the same learning process other rookie drivers he has worked with went through.

Magnussen has struggled to replicate the high of his podium finish in the opening race of the season in Melbourne, partly due to contact with rivals in some races.

Boullier said he had drawn on his experience of working with junior drivers at Renault to guide Magnussen’s development.

“It reminds me of my experience with [Romain] Grosjean and [Vitaly] Petrov,” said Boullier in a Mclaren phone-in.

“They went through the same processes and it’s part of, let’s say, the learning curve, unfortunately.”

“They need experience, they need to be able to understand the car,” he added. “An F1 car set-up wise is quite more complicated than the junior categories.”

“So it’s just part of the learning process. And it’s not helped by the fact he has a car which is difficult to drive today.”

Boullier added McLaren have new performance packages coming for the MP4-29 in the upcoming rounds, including “an interesting upgrade on the car” for the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

“The good thing as I said is we’ve picked up a very, very good direction for development in the wind tunnel so then it’s just up to us to manufacture those parts and bring them on-track,” he said.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Boullier using Grosjean experience to help Magnussen”

  1. “The good thing as I said is we’ve picked up a very, very good direction for development in the wind tunnel so then it’s just up to us to manufacture those parts and bring them on-track,” he said.

    Candidate for understatement of the year?

    1. Normally, I would say yes. But this is McLaren, they go about messing up scientifically @geemac!

  2. I had completely forgotten about Petrov!

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      23rd April 2014, 15:05

      @fat-tyre – Get ready to see him humiliate himself in DTM this year…

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    23rd April 2014, 15:00

    It’s certainly a testament to the difficulties of modern F1 when a truly excellent racing driver like Magnussen this year, and Hulkenberg in his rookie year in 2010, struggle initially. Is the Hamilton “rookie whirlwind” of 2007 a thing of the past? Based on Magnussen’s toils this year it certainly seems valid to say so. I say “toils” excluding that fabulous and mature drive to P2 in Melbourne, which certainly proved his prodigious talent, but since then he has either been being beaten by Button or hitting Raikkonen. Of the past three rookies, Kvyat has easily been the most impressive, and that’s a problem for Kevin with fellow McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne almost certainly set to take the GP2 title this year, thus giving McLaren a difficult decision. If Magnussen beats Button this year, a fresh young Magnussen-Vandoorne line-up would complement the new era of McLaren-Honda, but if Button comes out on top he will have beaten Perez and Magnussen in consecutive years, two impressive and highly rated scalps to add to the fact that he outscored Lewis during their partnership. Couple that to the fact that Honda are keen for McLaren to retain Jenson, I don’t see Button leaving if he beats Kevin. A pivotal year for Magnussen but especially for Button…

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      23rd April 2014, 15:02

      *Of the past three races, Kvyat has easily been the most impressive rookie

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        24th April 2014, 4:48

        kvyat is being really impressive! the thought that he is doing such a good job in a weaker car than magnussen! but then again: is the toro rosso really weaker than the maclaren????

    2. @william-brierty

      Good points, you could be right about the ‘Hamilton’ rookie year. Maybe it’s not possible without 1000s of kms of testing to get used to the feel and setup of the cars. You can only do so much in a simulator (it must be weird not being able to practice for your own sport, imagine if in football or tennis you could only practice for a short space of time during the season, the standard would go way downhill).

      I think McLaren have to give Magnussen at least 2 years to show what he can do, it was different with Perez because he had some years in F1 already. I don’t know what they’ll do with Vandoorne, maybe sponsor him for a slot in a smaller team – which given McLaren’s recent form could well be better for him!

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        23rd April 2014, 16:51

        @keithedin – It would be fair to give Kevin two years to show his potential, but it was a luxury not afforded to Perez, although I think a large proportion of the reason why Perez was dropped is simply because Ron didn’t take to him. As for Vandoorne, the guy is a complete star, and if he is in any team next year, which he obviously will be, it will be McLaren. I say that because McLaren approached Force India in 2011 asking them to be their “feeder” team and again last year, and on both occasions Force India refused. Marussia could have been their feeder team had they not severed their ties with McLaren following the Ferrari engine deal. I am quite confident that Stoffel will replace one of the McLaren drivers next year, and that driver will likely be the one that finishes behind in the championship…

        On another note, if McLaren is serious about its Junior Programme it should really think about buying for instance Marussia and turning it into their very own Toro Rosso. Without guaranteed seats such a programme is meaningless, and the less structured process but wider choice that Ferrari have when they make selections is much easier.

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          24th April 2014, 4:52

          this slowly would be turning into a three-cars-per-team scenario, or better: 4-cars-per-team…

        2. McLaren could also be in this very position in a few years, once Nyck de Vries is knocking on the door of F1, as only just over 2 years ago, Vandoorne was in the position he is in now. Dominating FR2.0 (Vandoorne beat Kvyat), then impressing in FR3.5 (almost beating Magnussen), then waiting for F1 by probably winning GP2 (2014).. give de Vries a year or two after winning FR2.0, and he’ll be similarly knocking on the door of F1! Would he go alongside the winner of Magnussen vs. Vandoorne?

          Button being part of Vandoorne’s management also complicates matters… I can see Button retiring and bringing Stoffel into a McLaren race seat in his place. The only issue is timing – Jenson will likely want a last hurrah with Honda in 2015 first. But by 2016, Nyck de Vries could be coming on very strongly, only 5 years after being crowned doubled WKC (World Karting Champion), and it’s likely that Max Verstappen will be in a similar position to Robin Frijns now too by then (also knocking on the door, probably still managed by Jos).

          Intriguingly, I can imagine Button/Vandoorne, if Button gets his way within the team, before de Vries replaces Button. That would depend on Kevin going off the boil and not impressing again this season, as after beating Jenson at the first two races on pace, it’s now Jenson ahead once more. But the car has gone backwards.. and Jenson has stated he can’t imagine making 300 races (and he’ll retire once he has kids, now getting married after his dad passed away).

      2. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        24th April 2014, 4:50

        yes, that was my thought! hamilton got to test the car extensibly…

    3. Is the Hamilton “rookie whirlwind” of 2007 a thing of the past?

      Nowadays new drivers need to un-learn racing and learn eco cruising, thats the issue.

  4. Kick Magnussem bring Grosjean problem solved!

    1. My you lot are fickle – two GPs ago Button was toast and Magnusson was the next best thing since sliced bread (sorry about the analogies)

      1. And Maldonado is still loafing around.

        1. Still brings loads “dough” to the team

          1. if only i could tip everyone in this post some dogecoin

  5. K Mag will get there. He has plenty of talent and has only done 4 races in F1. Obviously he has been used to Winning and must now adapt to fighting for top 5, assuming that Mclaren fix their downforce problems at least partly. No doubt he has been in a little bit of shock the two latest races – due to the car and not being in the front after qualifying. However, as a competitive F1 driver he is here to stay and he will be back in the points soon.

  6. McLaren are having issues with suspension geometry. I hope they’ll find a way around them because it’s such a dramatic change they may opt not to do it or rather blame the aero, reality is they are destroying the front tyres because they made the geometry for ultimate grip rather than using the tyres properly around the corners. Any track with long corners will kill McLaren, and Spain is the next one.

    1. Could be Canada before McLaren’s next big points haul..

  7. Maybe he can teach Button too! He always seems to be moaning about balance these days!

  8. Kevin Magnussen is more bad that Pastor Maldonado

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