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McLaren may not be competitive until May

ESPN Staff
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Eric Boullier thinks McLaren may not reach full potential until the first European race of the season as it adjusts to life with Honda power.

McLaren has had a troublesome winter so far and goes into the final day with 349 laps from nine days of testing - including just 39 on Saturday. The issues and subsequent delays suffered in Jerez and Barcelona have prevented the team testing the limits of its Honda power unit and racing director Boullier thinks that could be an issue until the European season starts in Spain on May 10.

"We won't be as ready as we would like but we will do our best obviously," Boullier said. "We have covered most of the issues, we have covered most of the systems and the positive is everything is working as per design and plan. The reliability is still a concern, clearly, and I don't know how long it is going to take to be honest.

"We have some plans in place now which have been drastically improved in both our organisations working together. I think it's going to take a few races but we should be at least maybe by Europe ready to be more competitive."

McLaren's poor start has been magnified by the relatively issue-free running of the Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari teams, all of which have an extra year of experience with the V6 turbo engines. Boullier says McLaren knew this at the start of the year and braced itself for a troublesome winter.

"We were not expecting to cover 100 laps every day," he said. "We do tend to forget that last year it was same situation for many teams. We have tight packaging and want to win as early as possible, so we have to be ambitious now.

"It is true we didn't do as many laps as we wanted. It is true it is going to hurt the development and the car on the performance side. But we will recover. It is just a delay, if I may say this. It is not that negative or disappointing."

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