McLaren-Honda stint 'a proper disaster'
21 September 2017 – McLaren's latest partnership with Honda was "a proper disaster" for the team's credibility, says Racing Director Eric Boullier, who is now focused on "bouncing back" with a new engine supplier in Renault.
McLaren and Honda reunited in 2015, having previously won eight world titles together, but the manufacturer struggled to produce a reliable and competitive engine.
After complex talks, it was finally confirmed at the Singapore Grand Prix that McLaren will take on Renault power units in 2018, with Honda moving over to Toro Rosso.
Amid the ongoing woe, McLaren sits ninth out of 10 teams in this year's standings, but Boullier is confident of making significant gains with Renault next season.
In an interview with the official F1 website, he said: "When you look at the last three years, it's been a proper disaster for us, in terms of credibility and getting new sponsors.
"And then you have to take the long-term view: in the next five years I am absolutely sure that we will go back to where McLaren belongs.
"And with this bouncing back we get our credibility back and it will rebuild our sponsor portfolio. It might take two to three years.
"We are ninth in the championship – with a top engine I think we would be fourth right now and just on the FOM money we could cover the engine side, so it will not be a big risk on the monetary side.
"Thanks to the shareholders who have been brave enough to take a sporting choice and not hurt McLaren. They could have said, 'Let's wait until Honda wakes up'."
Boullier regrets that previous success could not be repeated.
"Actually the idea was great: to revive the story of McLaren," he said.
"I think it was more the approach to the project at the beginning.
"Things could have panned out completely differently if different decisions had been taken at the beginning – but this is always easy to say in hindsight."
Earlier this week, Honda's motorsport boss, Masashi Yamamoto, described McLaren as a "systematic" company which can struggle to adapt to change.