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Eric Boullier: McLaren would be winning in F1 with Mercedes engines

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McLaren Formula 1 racing director Eric Boullier believes the team would be back winning races if it had Mercedes power instead of working with current partner Honda.

McLaren and Mercedes enjoyed a successful partnership in F1 between 1995 and 2014, claiming three drivers’ championships and two constructors’ titles in that period.

McLaren cut ties with Mercedes at the end of 2014 due to the latter’s focus on its factory team, and rekindled its famous partnership with Honda that ruled F1 in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

However, such form has not been forthcoming, with the relationship between McLaren and Honda at maximum strain after a difficult pre-season test period filled with reliability issues.

McLaren’s current race win drought dates back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, and it hasn’t scored a podium since Australia 2014.

Speaking to Spanish publication AS, Boullier said he is sure McLaren would be winning races if it still worked with Mercedes instead of Honda.

“I think we would. Yes, we’d be winning again,” Boullier conceded, before admitting that McLaren had to be competitive if it wanted to keep Fernando Alonso on its books.

Two-time world champion Alonso has made his frustration regarding Honda’s power unit clear in recent weeks, and is now in the final year of his McLaren contract.

“He wants to be competitive because he has talent to show the world and to himself,” Boullier said.

“We need to be competitive to keep him happy. If we’re competitive he’ll be happy.

“If not, he’ll take his own decisions.”

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.