Eric Boullier, McLaren's racing director, admitted in an interview that he is encouraged by the Red Bull's pace at the Australian Grand Prix. Heading to Bahrain, the Frenchman made several comments regarding his team and also about their rivals.
“It’s encouraging Red Bull is matching Mercedes and Ferrari in terms of race pace these guys. You can see as well there is a difference between qualifying pace and race pace. Our race pace is more competitive than our qualifying pace." Boulier noted
“We have plenty of potential and performance to unlock. Fernando knows what is coming, what we have but we can’t use today, but it will be unlocked in the future races. We have already a lot of things coming which we couldn’t have brought here.” he added.
Fernando Alonso shares Boullier's perspectives, although he believes the Woking based team should aim for higher goals: “We saw the potential of the car, we understood we had a good machine in our hands,” Alonso said. “Now is the time for McLaren to come back to the top positions, and to do so you have to compete against the best teams in the world: Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes." he added.
McLaren joined Red Bull as a Renault engine customer at the beginning of 2018. The British team is currently to return to the front after a three years difficult partnership with Honda. The Woking based outfit has set the objective to match Red Bull's performance by the end of the season.
Fernando Alonso finished fifth in the season opener in Australia. McLaren currently stands in fourth place in the Constructors Championship, with 10 points. The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place this weekend, with the two free practices scheduled to take place Friday afternoon.