Following a week of bad media reports, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier insists he will not be stepping down from his position.
A week ago, the Daily Mail ran an interview with former team principal Martin Whitmarsh in which he called for change at the top, citing comments he had gotten from members of staff within the Woking factory who were unhappy with their bosses.
Then, on Friday, a new report in the British newspaper quoted an anonymous team member who revealed schemes where Freddo chocolate bars would be given as bonuses for meeting tight deadlines and lambasted the "clueless" leaders, including Boullier himself.
Speaking at the team bosses press conference at the French Grand Prix, the Frenchman was asked about the articles but seemed to downplay their significance.
“We have obviously 800 people. We have a lot of support from the workforce and the engineering. I think it was just a matter of a couple of people were grumpy," he told reporters.
At a time when McLaren find themselves struggling to make real progress against their midfield rivals, Boullier actually saw some positives from this situation rather than considering it a distraction.
“In some ways, it’s maybe good for us because we have a lot of feedback and good feedback," he claimed.
“I think there have been a couple of stories about some chocolate-gate in the media today which were a bit funny to read.
“It was actually good because we had tons of emails from people saying this is a joke. It’s maybe a couple of people grumpy, which in any organisation, you have some people who agree or disagree when there have been miscommunications.
“I don’t know what the problems are of these people. I think we have invited them to come and see us to understand the problems, and we are talking through the back door.”
The Daily Mail reporter responsible for the stories then directly addressed Boullier and asked if he would be considering his position.
“I’m at my 20th year now in racing,” he said. “I’ve won races and/or championships with every team I’ve managed before, including F1. This is a record you cannot take away from me.
“I think we are on a journey. We are not where we want to be. We are not happy with where we are.
“It’s a journey with a new Renault engine partner. We have a good team of people. We just need to make sure we are finding the issues with the car and then correct them.
“We know where the issues with the car are, and make sure that when you build a car and when you believe in a concept, you have to develop the concept and make sure you correct it for next year’s one.”
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