McLaren set to carry out aggressive series of upgrades

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Shortly after a dismal Chinese Grand Prix for his team, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier noted that upgrades to the MP4-29 were in the works for not only the next round at Barcelona but for deeper into the European portion of this year’s Formula One schedule.

Today in a team teleconference, Boullier revealed how far the upgrade plan would go by saying they were already mapped out to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.

“Everything is planned already,” he said according to F1’s official website. “Spain will see an interesting upgrade for the car, [while] every race will see an upgrade package.

“The good thing is we have a very, very good rate of development in the wind tunnel, so then it is just up to us to manufacture the parts and bring them on track.”

The next few months will be critical for the team as it tries to pull itself out of its slump, which has not abated since rookie Kevin Magnussen and former World Champion Jenson Button both hit the podium in the season opener in Australia.

In Shanghai, Button and Magnussen were only able to finish 11th and 13th respectively, giving McLaren the worst results among the Mercedes-powered teams.

However, Boullier believes the team is still capable of victory as the season progresses.

“We have to believe we will win a race,” he said. “I think we will be able to keep pushing to bring a very strong and aggressive development for the season.

“I think we put ourselves in a position to fight for a win – maybe not in the first part of the season, but hopefully later.”

Altogether, Boullier is hopeful that 2014 will prove to be a “benchmark year” for the team as it attempts to return to the top after a dreadful 2013 season.

“It should be seen as a year of rebuilding a winning team,” he said.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”