McLaren “spent the past three years doing some engineering and car maintenance” rather than actively racing but is back searching for every possible performance gain, says Eric Boullier.
McLaren has become a Renault customer for 2018 after a frustrating three years in partnership with Honda [above], during which the team’s best constructors’ championship finish was sixth position. Renault, by contrast, won five races with Red Bull and also secured 27 further podiums in that period, including victory in two of the final six races last year.
Asked if it feels like there is a different atmosphere at McLaren ahead of the new season, Boullier told RACER: “The biggest one is [that] we go racing.
“That’s the biggest thing. It sounds crazy when I say this, but we spent the past three years doing some engineering and car maintenance, to the point we even parked the pit-stop training. We parked it because we couldn’t do everything.
“Now we have a car, we have to make it work, but once the car works it’s just now focused on being the best team, finding performance everywhere. That’s the right mindset.
“I find myself very excited as well, and actually more than usual. I think I have been a pain in the neck because I have been running through the factory and on the workshop floor all the time going: ‘Come on, come on, come on! Let’s go!'”
Boullier says he is excited to see how the team performs this year as he feels the ability of the race team was masked by the difficulties of the past three seasons.
“I have a strong belief in the team we have,” he said. “The atmosphere, the way we work, we are much leaner, much more flexible, much more collaborative. I have to say in some ways I am impressed by the way it works. So it should deliver, and it should be rewarded by some track results.”