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Boullier confident despite double retirement in Bahrain

NEWS STORY
09/04/2014

A double retirement for McLaren in Bahrain allowed Mercedes to flatter to deceive, suggests the Woking team’s Racing Director, Eric Boullier. Clutch failures for both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, which the team claims it has already solved, masked what Boullier claims is the second fastest car on the grid.

"If you look at the performance graph from Jenson we were just about to potentially finish in front of the Force Indias," he claimed in the latest McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "We could be the second fastest team after Mercedes, so the best of the rest, but this is very, very, very tight with everybody."

Boullier's claim is backed by a strong performance in Australia which saw both drivers in podium positions following Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion, coupled with promising pace in Malaysia and Bahrain which has done wonders to restore confidence and morale at the Woking squad.

"Last year was a bit of a trauma to be honest," admitted Boullier. "Everybody is more than eager to get to where McLaren should be, but to do that we obviously must not do that in a rush, not in a chaotic mode, but more in a rational mode.

"It's a perfect occasion to just look at our self and just make sure that we can fine tune our organisation and to bring us back to where we should be. And to be honest we will because there is a lot of good here."

However the biggest challenge for the moment remains catching championship leaders Mercedes, which has dominated all three grands prix - Lewis Hamilton's retirement in Australia the only blot on an otherwise perfect copybook.

"We are working aggressively to develop to make sure we can catch up with them," Boullier said with confidence. "I don't know if we will be catching them by European races but definite we will try to close the gap as far as possible."

Lower downforce circuits should suit the McLaren more, Boullier suggests, but with such drastic rule changes one can never be too sure.

"The challenge will be to close the gap by bringing more downforce and bringing more performance generally on the car.

"Monaco is an interesting case for example which is very high downforce but you also need to have a good drivable car, a well-balanced car," he added. "Every track layout can change the pecking order but the challenge will be to close the gap."

Mat Coch

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