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McLaren map out bold upgrade plan through to Silverstone

23 Apr 2014

McLaren will implement an "aggressive" development plan in a bid to arrest their recent slump, racing director Eric Boullier says, with upgrades already mapped out until July's race in Britain.

The team scored a double podium in Australia to take an early lead in the constructors' championship, but have since dropped to fifth after suffering a double retirement in Bahrain and failing to break the top ten in China, where both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were lapped.

Boullier feels the team's shortcomings were exaggerated by cold conditions in Shanghai, but nonetheless says they have planned a bold series of developments to return to the front of the Formula One field.

"Everything is planned already," he told a McLaren-Mercedes teleconference. "Spain will see an interesting upgrade for the car, [while] every race will see an upgrade package.

"The good thing is we have a very, very good rate of development in the wind tunnel, so then it is just up to us to manufacture the parts and bring them on track."

Boullier insisted that McLaren's poor form had not changed their target of race victories in 2014, adding: "We have to believe we will win a race. I think we will be able to keep pushing to bring a very strong and aggressive development for the season. I think we put ourselves in a position to fight for a win - maybe not in the first part of the season, but hopefully later.

"If you look in detail obviously it looks like we have stepped back from the beginning of the season, [but] I made clear that a lack of downforce was obviously hurting us when you have very hot or cold temperatures, and there is a technical reason for that. It is true that Australia was a bit optimistic, but we also prepare ourselves to pick up points or even podiums from the others.

"2014 should be a benchmark year for us. It should be seen as a year of rebuilding a winning team."

Boullier said that McLaren are also close to finalising a new title sponsor, and that negotiations are nearly concluded.

McLaren had hoped to make an announcement at the launch of their 2014 car, but with such plans not materialising they have run with a different sponsor on the sidepods of the MP4-29 at each of the first four Grands Prix of the season.

"The plan Ron [Dennis] discussed is happening," Boullier confirmed when asked how negotiations were proceeding. "Until we have signed the package, signed the final contract, obviously nothing will be announced. Until we are in a position to do so, we will keep going as we are now."