McLaren believes its Austrian Grand Prix upgrade package was a step in the right direction, but knows it needs much more to get back to the front in Formula 1.
The team has had a difficult start to 2014, with its new car unable to fully exploit the advantage that its Mercedes engine has. However, following a restructuring and a ramping up of aerodynamic efforts at the McLaren factory, a major development package was introduced for last weekend’s race at the Red Bull Ring. With Kevin Magnussen finishing seventh, racing director Eric Boullier says spirits have been lifted even though the team is not fully satisfied yet.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating because this is not where we want to race, but we need to see some positives,” he explained. “The positive is that it’s encouraging to see that the hard work is paying off.
“We improved our performance on one lap, as well as over the race with our relative pace compared to the rest of the field. So it’s getting better – but we are still far from where we want to be.”
More encouraging than the lift in car performance, though, was that the new parts performed as wind tunnel figures had suggested.
“It’s a complete airflow concept which we need to develop and we are just at the beginning,” added Boullier. “But it is starting well. And the most important thing for us is the correlation. Everything we have brought was correlating properly with everything, all the tools we have. That, for me, is the key and now we can trust them more and push more.”
MAGNUSSEN RALLIES TROOPS
Kevin Magnussen returned from his point-scoring finish in Austria to McLaren’s Woking, UK factory on Tuesday to address the staff and thank them for the efforts with the updates.
“Even though we’re not yet winning, driving for McLaren remains my dream come true,” said Magnussen. “I promise all of you that I’ll work as hard as I can, just like you all are, to get us back to the front.”