Boullier: Reliability must not thwart ‘reassuring improvement’

© XPB 

Eric Boullier says McLaren-Honda must have top-notch reliability if it wants to build on the “reassuring improvement” it has showed ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix

After a torrid 2015 campaign, the British team and Japanese engine manufacturer ran closer to the points-paying positions across the first two rounds of the current season.

But while reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne managed to pick up a point in Sakhir last time out, Jenson Button was forced into an early retirement after suffering an internal combustion engine (ICE) problem.

“While we definitely saw a reassuring improvement in our performance in Bahrain, we cannot take anything for granted, and it’s imperative that we don’t waste opportunities to score valuable points due to lack of reliability, as we saw at the last race,” racing director Boullier said.

“At the very least, we must learn from every situation, and in the case of Jenson’s power unit issue, we’ve done so, so we go to China with continued optimism that we can try to maximise the potential of our package.”

McLaren’s main story line entering the Shanghai event remains whether Fernando Alonso will be allowed to make his competitive return after missing the Bahrain Grand Prix on medical grounds.

Although McLaren Group boss Ron Dennis asked the FIA to reconsider its position in Sakhir, Boullier insists the team will respect the governing body’s ultimate ruling.

“Once again, Stoffel [Vandoorne] will be on standby until Fernando has his routine meeting with FIA doctors on Thursday, and until then we will be readying ourselves as normal.

“Fernando has been recuperating at home and training as usual, and we, like him, hope to see him back in the car. We’ll accept the outcome – whatever that may be – and plan accordingly.”

Off to China #F1 #ChinaGP @svandoorne

A photo posted by Eric Boullier (@eboullier) on

PROFILE: Paddy Lowe, the pioneer

Sergio Perez exclusive interview: Time to be a driving force

Eric Silbermann ponders the outcome of the qualifying format row

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter