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.”