After a double-podium result in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, McLaren’s form has dramatically fallen. And in last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, the descent continued.
Former World Champion Jenson Button and rookie Kevin Magnussen were each unable to muster much of a fight, finishing 11th and 13th respectively in a rough afternoon at Shanghai.
Perhaps it gave McLaren diehards a flashback to the team’s awful season last year, in which it failed to register a podium finish for the first time in over three decades.
With that in mind, racing director Eric Boullier is doing all he can to keep the troops from Woking from falling into a state of alarm.
“One of the dangers is after last year is to go into panic mode, which would make things even worse,” he said according to Britain’s Press Association. “It is why we have to go back a little and say, ‘Don’t panic’.
“McLaren has won as many races as Ferrari. Two years ago, they were winning races, so there is no reason to panic. It is not because you lose one guy, two guys, six guys or 10 that the car does not work any more. It is more the panic mode.
“Sometimes you have to look at yourself and think, ‘Well, what the others are doing is maybe more clever’. Like any business, you have to watch your competitors and try and catch up with them.”
In the meantime, Boullier insists the team has managed to find “a lot of performance” in the wind tunnel, which it plans to show as the F1 calendar moves deeper into its European portion.
“Some of it will be in Barcelona, whilst other things will take a bit longer than this,” he said. “But we’re definitely in the mix – 100 per cent sure. On the track is one thing, but we know in the factory what is going to happen in the next three or four races.
“I know what is going on, so I know we are on a very good development rate.”