Eric Boullier admits that McLaren might struggle to extract the maximum potential out its new Honda-powered car until the start of the European season in May.
McLaren has completed just 310 laps so far this winter – the lowest tally of any team – and managed just 39 laps on Saturday in Barcelona before the team encountered an oil leak which cut short its test programme for the day.
With just a single day left of testing ahead of the start of the 2015 season, Boullier fears the Woking-based squad could be playing catch up until May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“We won’t be as ready as we would like but we will do our best, obviously,” the McLaren racing director told reporters at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday.
“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.”
Despite a troubled pre-season, Boullier says the team expected there would be early setbacks with the MP4-30, owing to the ambitious design of its new project with Honda.
“We were not expecting to cover 100 laps every day,” he explained. “We must not forgot that last year it was same situation for many teams. We have a very tight package and we want to win as early as possible, so we have to be ambitious.
“It is true that we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted. It is true it is going to hurt the development of the car on the performance side, but we will recover. It is just a delay. It is not that negative or disappointing.
“There are also many areas of the car which we know all the systems on the engine working. Cooling is working. The more mileage we put on the car in the future the more we will learn.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Image courtesy of McLaren