Boullier sees first McLaren gains in Austria

2014 F1 season

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said the progress made by the team in the Austrian Grand Prix was the first reflection of the changes made at the team over the winter.

Boullier joined the team following their disappointing 2013 campaign which saw them finish fifth in the championship without scoring a single podium finish.

“I do have the confidence that we will have a good car from next year,” said Boullier in a McLaren phone-in, “just because obviously we addressed all the issues internally, and I believe we have made all the right changes.”

“We have seen already from Austria the first benefits of the changes we have done in the organisation, and I think now we are heading in the right way.”

Boullier said the improved form of fellow Mercedes customer Williams in the last race showed how the variation in car performance between different circuits is particularly pronounced this year.

“It just shows this year that you have a little bit of a strange pecking order in some races, just because of the layout [of the circuit],” Boullier explained.

“Let’s say Williams have built a good car, I think they have some weaknesses, but a lot of strengths in some track layouts. You could see, a very twisty track like Monaco they are not in good form, but a track with more chicanes and long straight line like Canada and Austria they were on good form.

“So I think it’s just this year it’s also obviously very dictated by the power unit, the driveability of the car and the power of the engine – the complete power unit – and how you deploy your energy. All this is why you have this change in the pecking order and classification over different track layouts.”

Boullier also cautioned over plans to introduce standing starts following Safety Car periods.

“I think there is a need for [FIA race director] Charlie Whiting to look at it carefully because there is obviously a lot of issues which could be wrong or make the show wrong as well,” he said.

“And obviously I think it’s a wish to change the regulations in this way. It still needs to be agreed by the [FIA] World Council. But I think there is a lot of thinking to be given how to do it practically on the track.

“Especially if we have maybe only a couple or laps or sometimes only one lap to make sure your drivers know where to stop, on which side of the grid, which may be a challenge.”

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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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10 comments on “Boullier sees first McLaren gains in Austria”

  1. “I do have the confidence that we will have a good car from next year,” said Boullier in a McLaren phone-in, “just because obviously we addressed all the issues internally, and I believe we have made all the right changes.”

    Isn’t that what McLaren said last year after that awful car as well??

    1. Last year? They kept that going through into this season until at least Canada!

  2. I absolutely detest the use of the words “The show” or “the spectacle” when it comes to rule changes in F1.

    F1 is a sport, any changes should make the sport fair/safe and challenging for the competitors.

    It reflects a level of arrogance and lack of respect for fans of the sport to say that it is a spectacle. Fans don’t watch cars driving around and around, clapping like gormless imbeciles when one car passes another regardless of who it is or what circumstances created the situation. I would say the biggest draw F1 has for fans is to view the best drivers in the world compete against each other. This sense of competition is lost when, the trailing car can open a flap or when the lead car is brought back to a standing start, losing an advantage all over again.

    I think a shift of perspective is required, make the sport a riveting contest of skill and not a contrived “spectacle” or show”.

    1. @twentyseven Normally a sport is exciting and competitive because the players are given the same chances to win, but in Formula 1 the drivers are only the tip of the iceberg, the teams are also in the competition.

      But they don’t have the same opportunities because they don’t have the same budget, and the problem is compounded by the fact that the prize money directly affects the competitiveness of the teams which is not the case in a “normal” sport, so it’s a vicious circle of the same cars winning, same cars in the midfield, and same backmarkers, hence the need to make it more “exciting”.

      1. hence the need to make it more “exciting”.

        God forbid they actually address the issue you noted as the cause of the lack of excitement – the ridiculous distribution of prize money which is one of the main reasons the same teams keep winning and losing.

        1. I doubt prize distribution will solve it all (though, it would help, especially the smaller teams). Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull will still spend 300-400M, they have a virtually infinite budget; they would probably be spending more if we still had unlimited testing.

    2. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      25th June 2014, 18:53

      @twentyseven Totally agree. I like to think F1 should be run with driver safety, freedom to race and fairness across the field as a 1st priority. Altering these fundamentals for ‘the spectacle’ approaches a very, very fine line. Double points & huge spending deficits are examples of the things that harms the racing fundamentals that should be upheld.

    3. @twentyseven, I agree entirely with the spirit of your post but I would like to add that F1 also requires a similar competition between the constructors so that the engineering is still a large part of the competitive character of the SPORT.

  3. Improvement at McLaren? I’d love to see some, they seem to be the least competitive of the MB powered cars

  4. Cannot believe with the amount of people working at McLaren and the resources available, that they are still way off the pace…..and results are now coming usually with the demise of a Renault power unit

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