Boullier in angry exchange with 'Freddo journo'

22/06/2018
NEWS STORY

Things got slightly heated during today's press conference when Jonathan McEvoy, the journalist behind the recent stories in the Daily Mail about McLaren, clashed with team boss Eric Boullier.

Last weekend, McEvoy quoted former team boss Martin Whitmarsh as saying that there is unrest within the company, and that he himself had expressed his fears for the team to (shareholder) Mansour Ojjeh during a visit to the Spanish Grand Prix.

Today, McEvoy quoted a source within the team who described the atmosphere at Woking as "toxic" and senior management, including Boullier, as clueless.

It all started well enough this afternoon at the official FIA press conference, when McEvoy asked Boullier if he felt a responsibility for the team's failings, the Frenchman replied: "That's a good question...

"Obviously, we are all responsible for the car performance," he continued. "No, I will not resign, to answer your question. I know you have written some articles. I've got my twentieth year now in racing, I've won races and championships with every team I've managed before, including Formula One, so this is some record that you cannot take away from me.

"I think we're on a journey. We are not where we want to be, we are not happy with where we are – but with the journey, with the new Renault engine partner, and obviously we have a good team of people, we just need to make sure we are finding the issues with the car and correct them. We know where the issues with the car are, and make sure... when you build a car, when you believe in a concept, you have to develop the concept and make sure you correct if for the next one."

"To go back to the Freddo thing, will you be reviewing how you hand out Freddos at the factory?" asked McEvoy. "Will you stick with the Freddo rewards or do they stop?"

"I think if you did a course in management we can organise this for you," replied Boullier. "And if you're really desperate to test the Freddo chocolate, we can send a box to you, don't worry.

"Thank you. Thank you for that offer," said McEvoy. "Could I just say...

"That's enough of it," snapped Boullier. "You're looking after something, we will give you any answers later but I think it's enough.

"No, no, it's not enough," insisted McEvoy. "Do you expect to still be in your job at Silverstone?"

"Yes. Of course," came the reply. "It's a journey. It's not a plug and play story. It's a journey when you have to work too. You're after me, apparently...

"But you're being briefed against, by your own staff, by your management..." said McEvoy.

"I think you are lying now," said the Frenchman.

At this point the FIA's communications director, Matteo Bonciani stepped in: "Sorry (Eric) Jonathan, we do not want to have a one to one. I'm trying to give a word to everybody. Eric, if you need so say something else?"

"No, I am fine," said Boullier.

"I'm not lying," insisted McEvoy.

One feels subsequent reports in the Mail will not make comfortable reading.

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Published: 22/06/2018
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