McLaren Racing director Eric Boullier has said McLaren cannot afford a second season like 2015 if they are to keep hold of their drivers.
These claims come after a season where McLaren failed to regularly score points eventually finishing up ninth overall, with Manor the only team behind them. The poor season sparked conversation throughout on the futures of both McLaren’s drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. In the end Button decided to stay for another season whilst Alonso confirmed he would not be taking a one year sabbatical from the sport, which many people thought he would do before returning for the 2017 season.
Boulier was asked in an interview whether they could keep their drivers positive if the season starts as badly as 2015 “I don’t think so. We cannot have another year like this…
“The drivers have bought into what we have done because we have been transparent with them. But for sure they don’t want to have another one like this.
“They are in F1 to compete to win, or to be competitive at least.”
As well as keeping their drivers happy and competitive, McLaren also have contend with a loss of over £25 million from losses of sponsorship and their poor constructors finishing position. This puts more pressure on keeping their drivers as another season like 2015 could mean they no longer have the funds to pay their drivers so handsomely.
Despite all of the things that could go wrong next season Boullier is happy with the way Alonso and Button acted last year despite the constant issues and he takes heart from their hard work and commitment.
“What is very important for me is that even at the last race they were still in some ways positive with us,” he said.
“They were frustrated by the lack of performance, but to have them after 19 races still in this mood was good.
“I read some comments again from Fernando saying that he had no regrets about his move and he believes in the team – which he says every two weeks, and when he is talking to the factory he says the same.
“So to have this trust still intact after the season [we’ve had], that for me is very, very reassuring.”
McLaren can’t be as bad in 2016 as 2015 can they? Time will certainly tell. For the good of the sport and its competitiveness lets hope not.
By: Chris Laker
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