Whispers doing the rounds in the Barcelona paddock suggest that Eric Boullier’s could be the next head to roll, as McLaren’s reality is they will not be battling for podium positions this season but instead will be fighting for scraps.
The Woking outfit have improved results compared to last season, which can be attributed to their switch to Renault engines this year but battling for minor points was not why they ditched Honda for the French manufacturer.
McLaren management’s ambitious pre-season target of matching Red Bull this year has proven to be way off the mark, as they are about half a second and a full second per lap down on the Blues, and probably a spot below Renault in the pecking order.
With technical chief Tim Goss shown the door last month, some are now predicting a demotion or ousting of Boullier from his position as racing director as the team reshuffles under more direct control of Zak Brown.
After the race in Spain, Boullier was asked by reporters if he could lead McLaren out of the rut and back to the sharp end of the grid, to which he replied, “Yes, I believe it.”
“In the past I have managed, revitalised and restructured several teams and I have also won with all of them in all categories. I know my job and we have to make sure that we can do it.”
As for the current team he heads, Boullier said, “I believe in the people we have, I believe in the managers, you always want strong leadership, good combination, be as flexible as possible, they look like generic words, but we do have to address our issues if we think we have left some.”
“We know what we have to do, we have to improve in reliability and performance, now there are other teams with the same engine, so we have references, it’s a long road.”
“This has been another step, a good job has been done to recover the reliability from the tests,” added Boullier who has only once celebrated a podium with McLaren at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix where Kevin Magnussen finished third.
Big Question: Do McLaren need Eric?