McLaren to 'aggressively develop' MP4-29


19 March 2014 by Ryan Wood

McLaren will begin an "aggressive" development programme over the next few races which they hope will allow them to catch up to Mercedes by the Spanish Grand Prix.

McLaren were arguably the third or fourth fastest team in Australia, claiming a double podium finish with Kevin Magnussen in second and Jenson Button third, following the exclusion of Daniel Ricciardo.

Racing director Eric Boullier says it was to be expected that they wouldn't be the quickest from the start, with the team opting to instead focus on reliability, but that will all change from now on according to the Frenchman.

"It's true that Mercedes and Williams have some pace [advantage], maybe between half and three quarters of a second quicker than the rest of the field," he said on Wednesday.

"But as for McLaren, we focused a lot of our winter on building a solid and reliable car, because we believed - and Australia confirmed our strategy - that reliability was key to taking big points at the beginning of the season.

"It is true now that we are pushing very aggressively on performance development - we need to clearly catch up the gap to Mercedes and also some others."

He explained that it was of vital importance to begin developing early as several teams will be competitive once they iron out a few troubles.

"Some other teams have not performed well so far, but clearly once they are delivering full power they will be very fast," he added. "Our target is to catch up by Barcelona, and build up over the first few races in Europe."