McLaren hurt commercially by 2015 struggles

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Eric Boullier admits McLaren has been hurt commercially by the struggles it has faced with the new Honda partnership this season.

Honda returned to F1 as engine supplier to McLaren at the start of 2015, but has so far failed to get its radical power unit to run reliably and the two cars will start 17th and 18th in today’s British Grand Prix having failed to finish the last two races. Boullier admits there has been an impact on the commercial side which can’t go on indefinitely.

“The damage is easy to understand,” Boullier said. “You establish a brand by your success and your repeated success, and I think McLaren by the number of wins and championships has clearly established this brand as an excellence.

“Commercially it does hurt, because a lot of people and a lot of companies are interested in joining us but some people in their organisation may question the results or the lack of results. I don’t think we can wait for very long anymore.”

Asked how long McLaren can cover the shortfall in revenues, Boullier replied: “So far we have a good forecast for the next years, just fine, but it’s going to hurt us in terms of revenue and we will have to find a way to cover this.”

And Boullier concedes McLaren has to be aware of Honda’s main reason for being in F1 compared to the team’s overall goals.

“I keep telling [Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa] Arai-san every day, we need to be successful as soon as possible … Like any partnership in the world we are not going to tell you what we are telling each other behind the scenes. We have to face the world together as one team, but the pain is real. There is nothing we can hide, you are asking the right questions, everything you ask has already been raised 100 times.

“We put pressure on Honda and they put pressure on us - us maybe more than them so far - because we need to have more performance and from the package of the car and engine today, more than 50% - much more - will come from the power unit. Everybody knows this, they know this, we know this, so this is where we put pressure if we want to catch up.

“It’s true there is a timing issue because Honda is in Formula One but its main business is selling cars, we are in Formula One to win races. So we have to make sure that the timing of both projects are aligned, but this has been discussed many times already.”

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