Boullier thanks Alonso and Button for digging deep at McLaren amid 2015 struggles


McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has thanked drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button for digging deep as the team continues to struggle with its new Honda-powered MP4-30 car.

Since rekindling the famed Honda partnership of the late 1980s and early 1990s for 2015, McLaren has scored just four points and encountered a number of technical problems with its car.

Both Button and Alonso were forced to retire from last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix due to exhaust problems, leaving McLaren ahead of only Manor in the constructors’ championship.

However, Boullier is remaining calm about the team’s fortunes, believing that everything necessary to make improvements is being done.

“We know what we have to do to improve, and we’re doing it,” Boullier said. “It may take us some time, but we’ll get there.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank and praise both Fernando and Jenson, who are continuing to drive brilliantly in very trying circumstances.

“Both of them digging deep and working extremely hard behind the scenes to help us move forward towards reliable competitiveness and eventual success.”

Boullier also paid tribute to McLaren’s staff and fanbase following the race in Montreal, thanking them for their work and support amid the difficult times that the team is facing.

“The staff of both McLaren and Honda, too, are working tirelessly to effect the same result,” he said.

“I want to pay tribute to our fans, whose steadfast support in these difficult times is impressive and edifying in equal measure. Truly, they really do believe in McLaren Honda, and that’s incredibly heartening to see. Thanks, guys, I really mean it.”

McLaren’s struggles appeared to come to a head in Canada as Alonso launched into a tirade over his team radio, saying that he was looking “amateur” when racing well outside of the points and having to back off to save fuel.

However, McLaren was always expected to struggle given the power-dependent nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, suggesting that future races may not be as difficult for the British team.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).