McLaren’s Eric Boullier says he’s been happy to see Kevin Magnussen fighting with some big names in recent races, despite the time penalties that the Dane earned in both Spa and Monza.
Magnussen was penalised while defending from Fernando Alonso in Belgium, and Valtteri Bottas in Italy, but he impressed with his gutsy performances.
“It’s clear that he’s stepping up,” said Boullier. “He’s maybe punching above his weight, because obviously he doesn’t have the car to be fast enough and chase better results, but he’s trying his best. I think it’s good for him and good for the fans as well, good for the show I think, to see this young kid, and this young Viking, if I may say this, fighting with the big boys. And obviously it means his self confidence is massively growing, and it’s good for his race craft, which is going to be only better and better.”
Regarding the twin penalties he said: “I think the Spa penalty was deserved to be honest, and I believe not the one Monza. He was unfortunate to be penalised, but we believe it was obviously just a normal move and a legitimate defence. I don’t think he will have to change his approach. I think Spa was a one-off, and Monza for us was unfortunate, let’s say. I think he needs to keep building his confidence by doing what he’s doing.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says that Kevin Magnussen’s recent struggles are par for the course for a rookie driver – especially one with an underperforming car.
“Obviously it’s a completely normal process for a young rookie driver who is stepping into F1 with a difficult car to drive,” the Frenchman said today. “It reminds me of my experience with Grosjean and Petrov. They went through the same processes and it’s part of let’s say the learning curve, unfortunately.
“They need experience, they need to be able to understand the car. An F1 car set-up wise is much more complicated than the junior categories. So it’s just part of the learning process. He’s not helped by the fact that he has a car which is difficult to drive today.”
Meanwhile Boullier says that the team’s form should take an upturn in the coming races.
“In Spain we will see an interesting upgrade on the car. Everything is planned until Silverstone – every race we will see a different upgrade, a different package. The good thing as I’ve said is we have picked up a very, very good rate of development in the wind tunnel, and then it’s just up to us to manufacture the parts and bring them on track.”
With regard to the chances of winning a race in 2014 he added: “Obviously we have to believe that we will win a race. If you look at it in detail it obviously looks like we are stepping back since the beginning of the season. It’s true that Australia was a bit opportunistic, but we also prepared ourselves to be ready to pick up points and even podiums from the others.
“I’ve made it clear that a lack of downforce is hurting us when you have very hot temperature conditions, or very cold, like we had in China. There is a technical reason for that. I think what’s going on in Woking is very positive, and we will be able to keep pushing and bringing let’s say very aggressive and strong development over the course of the season. I think we will put ourselves in a position, maybe not in the first part of the season but maybe later, to fight for a win.”