Boullier: Honda and McLaren balance

18/08/2016
NEWS STORY

Eric Boullier insists relationship with Honda is working and results are coming.

Other than the odd wry smile that plays across his lips, outwardly, very much like his boss, Eric Boullier gives little away. Indeed, like many others in the F1 paddock, he has the perfect 'poker face'.

While the expression remains frighteningly similar to what we witnessed in 2015, a time of never ending excuses, this time around one tends to believe the Frenchman when he says things are improving.

If nothing else, one only has to look at the fact the Woking outfit is currently hunting down Toro Rosso for sixth in the team standings. OK, it's a far cry from the glory days of the most successful British F1 team ever, but it is evidence that things are (slowly) improving.

Much of that progress, according to Boullier, comes from an improved relationship with its Japanese partner and its new technical boss Yusuke Hasegawa.

"It is a completely different approach with Hasegawa-san," Boullier told Autosport. "I've a very good relationship with him.

"We meet very regularly, face to face," he continued. "That is not only at the track where everybody is busy and has their own duties, but we meet very regularly anyway, and he is open, transparent, pushy, clever.

"We are starting to be co-operative and collaborative as well, so you can see some projects where McLaren is part of it, but we hide behind because everybody is doing his own duties. But it's working, and that's the key."

The improved relationship means, according to the Frenchman, that the two are now fully working as a team.

"McLaren and Honda balance," he insists. "We had to push first to make our car good enough at a certain level, and we still have a lot of room in making the car better, and we know that, which is good. With aero, suspension or whatever, we know what we have to do, and we know where to go. Honda is now starting to pick up, and that is why we had a good upgrade at Silverstone.

"We have a lot of development possible, which we can't use now," he revealed, "because, for example, it brings downforce, but it brings drag - and today we don't need drag on our car if we want to stay competitive. It's like we have a couple of developments on the shelves, but we can't bring them now because we want Honda to step up one step, so we go one step, Honda one step, and so on. This is why it's a collaborative approach, but it is coming."

In the wake of the Silverstone upgrade, another is expected at one of the two remaining races in Europe, either at Spa next week or Monza.

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Published: 18/08/2016
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