Formula 1

The MP4-29 was receive an "aerodynamic overhaul" in Austria (©GettyImages)
The MP4-29 was receive an "aerodynamic overhaul" in Austria (©GettyImages).

McLaren have high hopes ahead of car overhaul at Austrian GP

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McLaren are hoping an important set of updates coming to its 2014 car will move it up the grid at the Austrian Grand Prix.

After initial hopes the slump of 2013 had been reversed with a double podium in Australia, the MP4-29 has since proven just as disappointing as its predecessor with two non-scoring races in Bahrain and Spain before taking advantage of high attrition to score better results in Monaco and Canada.

In that time Racing Director Eric Boullier has introduced a number of changes as to how the team operates and these upgrades for the race at the Red Bull Ring are the first to come from the new approach.

The new updates are part of a what is described as an "aerodynamic overhaul" of the car but as Boullier admits, there will still be a long way to go until the team can compete with the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.

"It is obviously the game to try to produce some parts as fast as possible, but it all depends on where you start from," the Frenchman explained to Autosport.

"It is true that we started the season with a car that was lacking downforce and, at the same time, we had to redirect the strategy for the team where to go."

As is always the case during the European F1 season, many teams are bringing new parts to their cars at almost every race such is the rate of development, but Boullier believes this McLaren upgrade really will help move the team ahead of those teams around them.

"I think the package we are bringing in Austria is good enough to step up and close the gap with everyone in front of us," he said.

"Definitely we will not be winning races from that point - but it is a decent package to close the gap."

As well as Eric Boullier's influence since arriving from Lotus at the start of the year, former team boss and now Group CEO Ron Dennis has also increased his role within the F1 operations.

One man who is noticing the impact the two men are having on the team is Jenson Button, who is currently in his fifth season with McLaren.

Now the oldest and most experienced driver on the F1 grid, questions have been raised over whether the 2009 champion is still motivated in the midst of McLaren's troubles, but the 34-year-old believes the team is in a good place for the future.

"I like seeing Ron at the circuit, I think it has a positive impact on the team working here," he said.

"Before every session, and after every session, Eric is pushing the team very, very hard and talking to us guys a lot more than I am used to, which is great.

"He is getting our feedback and understanding about what we have from the car and what we need from the car."

The Briton added that he felt the changes were also needed at the team in a time when more radical approaches from the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes have seen them move ahead of the more traditional teams such as McLaren and Ferrari.

"Things at McLaren have been the same for many, many years and now they are starting to change. I think it is time - and definitely the right direction.

"I am sure Eric feels like he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. It is going to be a tough few years but an exciting few months for everyone at McLaren because we will make our way back to the front and when we do, it is going to be enjoyed by all of us."

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