Red Bull struggle shows importance of works engine deal - Boullier
McLaren boss Eric Boullier says Red Bull's struggle this season is proof that teams need a works engine deal if they are to succeed in under Formula One's new engine regulations.
Mercedes has taken this season by storm, winning seven of the first eight races and often by more than 30 seconds. The roots of Mercedes' success dates back several years to when the team's chassis and engine departments started working together on the 2014 regulations to come up with a power unit and chassis that are tailor made for each other.
Red Bull and McLaren, meanwhile, have had to build their cars around the engines supplied to them by Renault and Mercedes respectively, with Red Bull showing signs that it is losing patience with Renault. McLaren will use Honda engines next year and Boullier said Red Bull's struggles show how crucial it is to have bespoke engines under the current regulations.
"Having a works engine allows you to play with much more channels and possibilities than if you have a customer engine," he told a McLaren phone-in with journalists. "If you take the example of Mercedes GP and Red Bull Racing, we all know Red Bull Racing's chassis is very good and maybe slightly better than the Mercedes one, but the big the difference is the Renault engine, which is not a works engine."
Next year Honda will supply McLaren with a works engine deal and Boullier said so far the new partnership is running to plan.
"It takes months, even years, to build it up, so you have a clear schedule in place and some clear tiers to target," he said. "So far I think everything is in order and matching the fact that we have until next year to race."
However, McLaren has also been struggling on the chassis side compared to fellow Mercedes customers Force India and Williams. Boullier said he had targeted the main problem areas since joining McLaren over the winter and that results are already starting to show.
"I do have the confidence that we will have a good car from next year, just because we addressed all the issues internally and I believe we made the right changes. We have seen already from Austria the first benefit of the changes we have done in the organisation and now we are heading in the right direction."