Boulier: McLaren will work with ‘relentless intensity’

McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier has promised the team will work with “relentless intensity” ahead of the China/Bahrain double-header.

Given all of McLaren's troubles over Winter Testing, a double DNF in Australia looked on the cards. Stoffel Vandoorne was able to complete the race, while Fernando Alonso was running in the top 10 before being forced to retire.

Boullier is keen to move on from the season opener, but paid tribute to both McLaren drivers for their performances in troubling times.

“The 2017 Australian Grand Prix won’t be remembered as one of McLaren-Honda's finest hours, and indeed there are precious few reasons for us to be cheerful here in Melbourne," said Boullier.

“However, I want to pay tribute to our drivers, both of whom performed superbly, albeit in very different ways. 

“Fernando’s car suffered a damaged left-front brake duct early on, but he nonetheless drove a prodigiously impressive race, wringing every last tenth-of-a-second from a compromised car on every lap, and at one stage a points finish looked to be a possibility for him.

“Stoffel had a dreadfully frustrating afternoon, losing his dashboard function early in the race – causing him to have to count his gear changes both up and down in the absence of the usual on-dash digital readout – which problem we were able to address by bringing him in for an unscheduled system reboot. 

“He soldiered on to the finish – and, although his afternoon was a difficult and unsatisfying one, the fact that he went the distance was a consolation of sorts.

"Indeed, bearing in mind that he’s now driven the grand total of just two grands prix, I’d describe his performance as dogged and diligent: a very difficult job very well done.  

McLaren's reliability will be put through one almighty test with a double weekend of racing coming up, but Boullier has ensured the team are going to do everything they can to try and make the car competitive.

He added: “From here we'll return to Woking and Sakura, where our development work will continue with relentless intensity, with regard to chassis and power unit alike, in an effort to improve MCL32 for the Shanghai-Bahrain double-header in a fortnight's time.”

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