Falling short of their goal of making it into Q3 in Bahrain, Eric Boullier says there will be a “big investigation” at McLaren as they don’t know why they lacked pace.
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne will start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix 13th and 14th on the grid.
Alonso only just made it into Q2, saved by the fact that he set his lap time before Romain Grosjean set his, matching the Spaniard’s.
As such Alonso progressed, Grosjean fell out.
But even with the lifeline the double World Champion, and his team-mate, didn’t have the pace to enter the pole position shoot-out.
“Obviously it’s a bit of a surprise, based on the pace we had in FP3,” Boullier told Sky F1. “There is a need for a big investigation.
“On his last lap Fernando found some pace in Sector 2 and Sector 3, which would have helped earlier. We need to find out what’s going on.
“The balance is fine, obviously there’s a lack of grip, that’s my conclusion for the poor performance, but they don’t report anything wrong.”
The Racing Director believes the pace McLaren showed in Melbourne where Alonso and Vandoorne scored points is a true reflection of where McLaren are at.
“We were struggling last year in Bahrain as well, which is something we need to investigate for this layout.
“Our pace in Australia was not a dream, it was real in the race, and we know it will be better here tomorrow than the one-lap pace.
“But we need to find out why. We need to ask some questions at the factory.
“Like all of us on the pit wall, to be honest, I’m a bit astonished and we need to understand what happened.”