The messages of progress coming form the historic Woking F1 team are finally starting to diverge. For much of the season Eric Boullier, Ron Dennis, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have managed to stay on the same page – however this unity is coming to an end.
Jenson Button stated following the British Grand Prix that a McLaren podium this year was ‘unrealistic’.
Fernando Alonso called on the team to bail out on 2015 and concentrate on 2016.
Jensen Button disagreed. He argues the regulation changes are minimal between 2015-16 and so McLaren need to continue to push for better results this year.
Now Eric the believable enters the fray. He tells F1.com that “I am repeating myself: if we can unlock the potential we will maybe be fighting – with some luck – for a podium [this year]. If you can deploy your MGU-K power on the straights on every lap, that is worth a lot of time. Today we can’t do that”.
Having dominated F1 over a four-year period, many felt Red Bull/Renault’s tribulations at the beginning of 2014 were good because it rang the changes.
Honda however, have taken first year ‘teething problems’ to a Renault+++++ level. Eric Boullier admits, “We are not ready, we are not doing a good enough job right now – but we know that we have a lot of potential in our car.
“Just give us time. Once we’ve solved some of the reliability issues we will make absolutely significant steps forward.”
Boullier is making big claims about McLaren-Honda’s immediate future.
“We know that our cars have not tenths but seconds of potential that can be unlocked.
“We cannot physically use that because we have reliability issues, but if we overcome those we will be able to make major steps forward, believe me.”
The truism that McLaren can only improve this year is undeniable. However, Boullier’s belief in a podium finish for Jenson or Fernando in 2015, may be more ‘sponsor speak’ than reality.