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Boullier: 2014 hopes not lost

NEWS STORY
13/05/2014

Silverstone is the make or break point this season for McLaren, according to its racing director Eric Boullier. After a promising start to the 2014 campaign with a double podium finish in Australia the Woking team has failed to score a single point since Malaysia and now finds itself just sixth in the constructors’ championship.

"There were a couple of DNFs that were not due to car performance at all," claims Boullier, who believes the car is better than the standings currently reflect. "When something goes wrong, as per the power unit problem for Kevin in qualifying or the poor start from Jenson, you see everything that went wrong because the gaps between the different cars is very, very close - after obviously Mercedes and Red Bull."

McLaren had shipped a number of new parts to Barcelona for the Spanish race, though Boullier concedes not all worked as hoped. "But the car was not worse with it," he insisted. "Our data analysis shows all our upgrades currently work apart maybe some parts in high speed corners."

With the midfield so tightly packed a small jump in performance could translate in to a leap up the grid for the Woking squad, and with a constant stream of updates already in the works the team hopes to start seeing improvement by the Austrian Grand Prix next month.

"We have to go through very much the details to understand why we have an underperforming car and how to develop the car and even questioning how we bring concepts and how we develop the car on a daily basis," Boullier explained.

The worst case scenario would be that, come Silverstone, the team’s fortunes haven't improved. If that's the case the team will begin to take more drastic development routes, though it will resist the lure of moving resources to its 2015 car early.

"It's possible that we will draw a line by Silverstone and we may go in more radical concepts rather than maybe going to 2015," conceded Boullier.

"We have seen very, very significant and good progress over the wind tunnel in the last few weeks so I think we need to just understand where we are, where we want to go and this is now where we are just defining.

"We are now in the rebuilding process of the aero department," he added. "We have the car we have so we need to so far develop the car like it is."

Monaco at least provides a glimmer of hope. With a well-balanced car in slow corners the Monegasque streets could see a slight improvement, though Boullier is quick to warn that nothing in guaranteed.

"Monaco could be not bad for us," he reasoned. "Our car is well balanced in low speed corners and very drivable, so Monaco could be - could be - less painful for us!"

Mat Coch

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