‘McLaren-Honda relationship at maximum strain’

Date published: March 7 2017

With yet another engine related problem limiting McLaren’s running in Spain, Eric Boullier acknowledges that the team’s relationship with Honda is under “maximum” strain.

Stoffel Vandoorne managed just 34 laps on Tuesday morning as the second of the two pre-season tests got underway in Barcelona.

Honda confirmed that it was an “electrical issue with the PU” and opted to replace the power unit with some reports suggesting that was the seventh engine change over the course of five days of testing.

Asked if the latest round of reliability gremlins had put added strain on McLaren’s relationship with Honda, Boullier told Autosport: “Maximum.

“Obviously we are in F1, we are racing, and we have to perform.

“So the pressure is obviously huge and obviously we put the maximum pressure on all of our relationship with Honda, and the same for them.

“We cannot put a footstep wrong.

“We need to be able to deliver the best car as well, so this is both sides.”

The Racing Director is, however, hopeful of finding a solution to the problem, revealing that it is the same issue that has blighted the Honda engines.

“From the outside world it may look like it is a different problem, but at least two of the problems were the same.

“So it can be addressed in time.

“The one thing is we are running the same spec as last week so obviously that doesn’t mean there are any changes in this block or any modifications done.

“I think, the next spec will have addressed part of this problem, or most of this problem.”

Boullier, though, was quick to downplay any suggestion of McLaren calling to a premature end to their relationship with Honda.

“No,” he said. “We have a contract in place.

“We don’t even obviously think about it, because there is a contract between us, a long-term contract, and we want to build on it even if it is not ideal times.”