Before heading to Australia, Eric Boullier went out of his way to reassure McLaren fans of the team’s resurgence, but the Frenchman still expressed a sigh of relief Sunday afternoon.
The Woking-based outfit’s pre-season testing programmes in Barcelona were painfully disrupted by several setbacks and minor issues, leading many to dismiss the team’s chances for points down under.
However, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne brought both cars home in the points in Melbourne, with the Spaniard enjoying a spirited drive to fifth which bodes well for the future.
- F1i’s Driver Ratings for the Australian GP
“We knew we had some potential and further speed to unlock from the car,”said Boullier.
“We took every chance we could and both drivers drove superbly.
“We showed good pace, enjoyed some good fights, and we completed two decent pit stops which helped us keep our strategy on track,” he added.
“We’re encouraged by the potential our car has shown in the first race of the season, [and] also reliability-wise we had a trouble-free weekend, which is a relief after the issues we had in winter testing.
“It’s all thanks to a huge amount of hard work from everyone in the team, who have done a remarkable job since Barcelona.”
Boullier echoed Alonso’s ambition of seeing McLaren soon snapping at the heels of its Renault-pwoered counterpart Red Bull Racing.
“Now we need to keep pushing, and work on readying the upgrades we have in the pipeline as soon as possible,” said the Frenchman.
“Our priority is to get closer to our nearest competitors in front, especially those who have the same engine in the back of their car.”
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