The first test of the season in Melbourne was a small release for McLaren, after some winter tests plagued by ups and downs. Eric Boullier, sports director of the English team, appreciated with relief what happened at Albert Park and opens the door to an exciting season for the orange car and its two riders.
When asked about the state of mind of Fernando Alonso, it was really expressive: “Uff, he’s boiling, he thought the car had potential and he was the fourth best on the grid and now he’s sure of it. 110% to prove it and that’s what motivates him, “he said smiling.
The French coach also confirms that this weekend comes the first improvements, which were left in the ink for the first race and that in China, as advanced by MARCA, will come the first true evolution of the chassis.
“In Barcelona we were delayed by some stupid little details that were disastrous in terms of the time they forced us to lose,” he recalls. “When you spend days and nights working to ensure reliability, the benefits are put aside, that’s why we arrive in Australia with an incomplete aerodynamic package, in Bahrain there will be a part and more in China, where the important evolution will come. what was postponed for Australia and China is a first evolution proper. ”
A GOOD BASE
The ambition is high now in McLaren, although in Australia had to deal with problems that were not minor. “The base is healthy and reacts very well to changes, the problem is that when you do not have all the complete aerodynamic set that was planned, you have to rebalance the whole and make it work as if it were really complete. The engineers work on digital models based on what the aerodynamicists determine, if there are missing parts then you have to work the old way and balance with the car’s settings “. And in Albert Park it worked.
It does not avoid pointing out very demanding objectives for theirs in terms of the race to evolve the car compared to the competition. “It’s a race that we’re going to win, that of the development of the car, what will come in Bahrain will already be a great improvement, we will find a normal rhythm from the Spanish Grand Prix and recovering that time is an intense battle right now” , says about the acceleration that must have occurred in Woking after solving the problems of the Montmeló tests.
Boullier shows some pride in how the team reacted to that bad moment: “After the analysis we made of all the data taken in the tests, we were quite calm in terms of the benefits that the car could offer. all the work we had planned, but we ate more with our eyes than with our stomachs, we had much more ambitions in mind than what we really saw in Barcelona, we did not think we had suffered the problems we had, “the Frenchman now admits after the evil drink.
IMPROVE IN QUALIFICATION
The key to the final result in Australia, apart from the double abandonment of the Haas, was that “our car has better race potential than qualifying and in Melbourne we took advantage of the opportunities that were presented to us.” With the virtual safety car, Fernando had some laps without traffic, we asked him to attack and signed several very fast laps.When you have a good car, you can take advantage of the opportunities, but we have a lot of work to do to face Red Bull, our reference today, “says Boullier.
Despite this, he believes that Saturday can be improved. “The qualifying was not as we wanted, but it’s not worrying, we had to be sixth on Saturday and in the first attempt of Q2 Alonso was very good, in the second one he made a small mistake, but he should have been comfortably in Q3 and then quite up, “says Eric, who will have a second test in Bahrain.