McLaren are keen to help their Formula One partners Honda accelerate their progress as the struggling union seeks to recover from another disappointing double retirement at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Both two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso and 2009 champion Briton Jenson Button gave vent to frustration on Sunday before laughing off talk of serious discord within the team with a light-hearted exchange of Tweets.
These included turning the drivers’ championship upside down to lift their spirits, a move that put Alonso on top of the table.
That humorous effort fitted in with McLaren’s refusal to blame Honda and to avoid the kind of public slanging match that broke out between struggling Red Bull and engine suppliers Renault earlier this year.
The double flop followed an encouraging run at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix where Button finished eighth to score the team’s only points this year.
On Saturday, he suffered an engine failure and on Sunday, after starting from the pit lane, he abandoned the race without making any impact.
For Alonso, Sunday’s retirement was his third in a row, something he has never previously experienced in his career and came after he said the team ‘looked like amateurs’ during an emotional radio exchange.
In the wake of Sunday’s race, Racing director Eric Boullier tried to smooth over the worst of the troubles and pointed out that it was McLaren’s responsibility to support Honda – rather than blame them – as they jointly seek solutions.
“They do listen,” he said. “We have discussions every day. I don’t want to go into anything in public, but there is some way to improve faster and we should go that path.
“Of course, it is easy to blame the partner, but as a partner we also have to be supportive. We need to help them to accelerate this recovery time.
“To be fair, they decided to join Formula One two years ago and it is not easy to be here and win. We just need to make sure we are properly equipped to do it.
“When you want to catch up, basically you have to put more resources in the programme. And, if you want to do it short-term, you need to bring more experienced resources.
“We have some software, IT, whatever it is, and we have this experience at home. So, McLaren can actually offer Honda support in this area to help them shift resources.”
Boullier added: “It’s important Honda recover. I guess it’s not embarrassing now, because they are new into the programme, but it’s a question of how fast they will recover.
“It is hard not to blame. It is a management exercise and we don’t want to be like Renault and Red Bull, fighting in the media. There is no sense in that. – Agence France-Presse