McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admits the team is “by no means satisfied” with the progress it has made so far this season despite sitting third in the constructors’ championship.
Expectations have been raised at McLaren as a result of its switch to the Renault power unit, but the team’s outright pace has been lacking as it has yet to get one car through to Q3 on a Saturday. McLaren has produced much better race performances, however, with strong strategies and impressive drives from Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne resulting in two double-points finishes.
“We now head to Shanghai after a hard-fought couple of races for McLaren,” Boullier said ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. “Our results are solid but haven’t come easily, and we are by no means satisfied with our progress so far.
“We know there’s a lot of work to do and we’re working hard, day and night, to bring more performance to the car each time we hit the track. Our biggest deficit is our qualifying performance and addressing this is our priority.
“The Shanghai International Circuit is a very different challenge again to Melbourne and Bahrain. The long straight, high top speeds and the low- and medium-speed corners mean it has a bit of everything, so our objective is to get on top of the circuit’s characteristics from Friday onwards.”
As part of a “corporate simplification” announced at McLaren this week, it was stated that Boullier will report directly to Zak Brown, who has been handed the new title of Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing.
Jonathan Neale becomes Chief Operating Officer of the McLaren Group, overseeing the three divisions of McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies, each of which will have its own CEO.
The whole group continues to be overseen by the Executive Committee (ExCom), comprising Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh.
“The work of the past year at a corporate level has been focused on structuring and positioning McLaren for growth,” Shaikh Mohammed said. “These latest developments are a natural consequence of that work and are designed to bring greater simplicity and clarity to the structure and leadership of the group.”