Boullier expects McLaren to be up to speed by Spanish GP


McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes that the team will finally be up to speed by the first European race of the 2015 Formula 1 season in May, following a difficult pre-season

The team has reunited with engine supplier Honda for 2015, but the new power unit has presented a number of problems that have limited the MP4-30’s running in winter testing.

Speaking to the media on Saturday in Barcelona, Boullier said that although McLaren is behind schedule with the new car, he hopes to be fighting towards the front by the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

“We won’t be as ready [for Australia] as we would like but we will do our best, obviously,” Boullier said. “We have covered most of the issues, we have covered most of the systems and the positive is that everything is working as per design and plan.

“Reliability is still a concern, clearly, and I don’t know how long it is going to take to be honest. We have some plans in place now which have been drastically improved in both our organizations working together.

“I think it’s going to take a few races but we should be at least, maybe by Europe, be more competitive.”

The teething problems with the new Honda engine have caused McLaren to lag behind the rest of the field. The team has only once completed more than 100 laps in a day this winter, and on a number of occasions it has had to curtail running completely due to an issue.

The team is also still waiting to hear whether Fernando Alonso will be fit to race in the Australian Grand Prix on March 15 following his accident in testing last week.

Although Boullier is confident that Alonso will be able to race, he said that McLaren is waiting to get approval from the Spaniard’s doctors before confirming its plans.

“We should know next week,” Boullier said. “It’s not in my hands. There is nothing wrong, but I think there is a final check to be done and the green light should be given.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.