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Boullier dismisses crisis talk

NEWS STORY
07/03/2018

The timing couldn't have been worse, while Zak Brown and Eric Boullier were meeting with the media in the Barcelona paddock, just a few yards away crew members were changing the engine on Fernando Alonso's car after an oil leak sidelined the Spaniard after just 47 laps this morning.

The oil leak is the latest in a series of issues that have cost the Woking team valuable track-time, be its errant wheelnuts, hydraulics, electrics and overheating.

However, amidst talk that the team is facing a crisis, team boss Boullier sought to play down the media hyperbole.

"It's just testing," he sighed. "On the tyres, if you look at the lap time Red Bull did a test this morning, they put on new mediums and then new softs. They are half a second faster only, so there is not much difference because of the tarmac specification and the temperature as well. We have a technical reason why we want to work on the car with the hypersoft tyres.

"As for the car breaking down, it's testing," he continued, "so we have some little issues which we have to fix, but it's just testing. It's part of the process. We are on top of this.

"It's a new partnership with Renault," he added, "completely new packaging for the car as well. This is testing. Give us time and it's fine."

Following the issues encountered last week, particularly with regard to overheating, McLaren has placed new cooling outlets on the engine covers, raising suspicions that as was the case in 2015 with Honda, the Woking team has been too aggressive in its packaging of the Renault engine.

"I don't think this is related," said Boullier. "We tried to design the best car, so we have to be convinced about the car concept. With every new car concept, you obviously have to prove out on-track if it works or not.

"There is some adjustment," he added. "We are trying to make the best out of our car to make sure the aerodynamic platform is delivering much more. So we'll see. Today we're about to fine-tune, but the problem we had with the leak is nothing related to that.

"We are trying to make a plan and every time we lost some track time we have to revise the plan and make some other priorities, " he admitted, referring to the failure to learn more about the new package, "so some things we will not test."

Check out our Wednesday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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