With growing concerns over Honda’s new engine, Eric Boullier acknowledges that Fernando Alonso is not happy but that doesn’t mean he won’t be around next season.
McLaren struggled throughout the opening pre-season test at the Barcelona circuit where McLaren-Honda managed just 201 laps, second least of all the teams.
Added to that they were at the bottom of the timesheets with only Toro Rosso, who completed the fewest laps, slower overall.
McLaren’s troubles have raised questions about Alonso’s future with the team should the Spaniard have to endure yet another trying season.
Boullier, though, points out that it wouldn’t be the first time that there has been speculation about the driver.
“After six months at McLaren everybody said it would be a tragedy, a mess,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport, “but in the third year he is still here.
“Naturally he is not happy because he wants to fight to win.
“But, even if the team works like crazy, right now we are not able to offer this possibility and I cannot say that he will do so tomorrow.
“It is up to use to bring McLaren to the level that is deserves for its history.”
Asked how he manages the situation with Alonso, Boullier replied: “By telling the truth because you avoid wrong expectations. He knows the situation exactly.”
As for whether he expects Alonso will remain in Formula 1, and with McLaren in 2018, the Racing Director admits that has yet to be decided.
“I hope so but I’m not sure,” he said.
“For sure Fernando is still at the top. The way he has prepared for this season is incredible, I was impressed.
“After so many years you could expect this guy to say ‘OK I’ll take life more lightly’. But no, he is always focused.
“He is an example and an inspiration for many drivers, not only those who are in F1.”