McLaren in China damage limitation already

Sure, the Australian Grand Prix wasn’t a race to write home about for McLaren but if Race Director Eric Boullier is to be believed, China could be worse.

“Shanghai is known to be an unpredictable weekend for a number of reasons: it’s tough on cars, tyres and power units and the weather is often precarious, but I can predict that we won’t be as fortuitous with our pace, compared to our rivals, as we were in Australia.

“The characteristics of the Shanghai International Circuit are very different from Melbourne, and its long, fast straights will likely expose the weaknesses in our package more than Albert Park did.

“However, we will of course attack the race with our usual fighting spirit, and the most important thing will be to ensure reliability with both cars before focusing on performance.”

That doesn’t bode well for the folks in Woking but I understand the importance of establishing correct expectations and even engaging in some preemptive damage control via press statements such as these.

Eric speaks of the engine limitation at a circuit such as China but if memory serves correctly, it wasn’t really engine issues that the broadcasters seemed to imply as the main culprits for both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso—is this the most vowels in any McLaren driver pairing?

If I recall correctly, Alonso had a suspension issue and didn’t Stoffel have an electronics issue with no dash working on his steering wheel? Those seem non-engine related but hey, I’m willing to blame Honda for just about everything at this point so why not?

Regardless, if you’re a McLaren fan (assuming you haven’t given up yet), you would do well to right-size the expectations heading into China.

Hat Tip: Autosport