Eric Boullier has billed the manner in which McLaren bounced back from Fernando Alonso’s horrific Australian GP crash as the team’s “most amazing performance” of 2016.
Alonso crashed heavily at the opening round of the season as he clipped the back of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas.
He was pitched into a high speed crash that ended with his McLaren rolling before coming to a rest on its side, forcing the Spaniard to crawl out.
Alonso had to sit out the next race, the Bahrain Grand Prix, due to rib fractures and a pneumothorax.
McLaren called up reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne to replace him, with the 24-year-old Belgian scoring the team’s first point of the championship.
“The most amazing performance from the team was recovering from the horrific crash Alonso had in Australia, which was a challenge with a brand new car as we had to build a new car,” Boullier said in his mid-term report.
“And at the same time turning up in Bahrain, without any notice to change the drivers, to bring a rookie in who did a brilliant job as well. He was well prepared to step in and race.”
As for the team’s best results, the Racing Director highlighted Alonso’s “brilliant” fifth in Monaco and Jenson Button’s “very good qualifying” in Austria where he was third on the grid.
Boullier added that McLaren have cause to be optimistic ahead of the final nine races of the championship.
He added that the team can be “pleased to catch up on the big teams, out-develop the big teams.
“That means the momentum is working, what we are doing is delivering, and we just want to do the best job we can to keep doing this until the end of the season.”