Boullier: “More than two years needed to catch Mercedes”

“I don’t this is bad for the sport,” Boullier said. “Of course, everyone wants all the cars racing together like we had in 2012, but any technical change in the regulations is opening the door to creating gaps and loopholes. I’m not surprised, this is the price you pay if you change the regulations as drastically as has been changed. You have to be patient to catch up.”

Honda joined McLaren this year but the new partnership made a slow start to its F1 return with qualifying times over five seconds off the pace of Mercedes in Melbourne.

“In our case, Mercedes has been developing the engine for more than three years, and Honda for 18 months – that’s already a huge part of the answer,” Boullier added. “For Ferrari and Renault I don’t have any answers, but Mercedes has a good team in place and have done a pretty good job already last year, so you can expect them to do an even better job. I’m not very surprised. These engines still have a lot of potential to unlock, so it may take more than a couple of years to catch up.”