Eric Boullier has called his move to McLaren “a rare and great opportunity” after joining in the newly-created race director role at the end of January.
The Frenchman left Lotus after four years as team principal. He played a major part in returning the Enstone-based outfit to the top step of the podium as well as the signings of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Boullier was not willing to talk about why he left Lotus but he did comment on the chance he was given to join McLaren. “I will not talk about that now,” he said. “There is nothing to be said right now. Or let’s put it this way: it was a rare and great opportunity to join a prestigious team like McLaren. I am delighted and I feel privileged having been contacted.
“It was the team that I was watching when I was a kid – the era of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. My decision to join McLaren was made before I could even finish saying McLaren.”
The Woking-based squad is the latest to drop the team principal job title. Boullier has joined in the new race director role – which he says is “one hundred percent the same job as with Lotus, it’s just another job title” – and will report to the yet to be confirmed CEO of the F1 team, as well as Ron Dennis who returns as the CEO of the McLaren Group.
He admitted that his decision to leave Lotus was a spontaneous one, and added that he is “surprised” by Renault’s struggles with its new V6 Turbo power-unit.
Looking ahead to the first few races of this year, Boullier believes the true order won’t be seen until the first European round in Spain: “I think Mercedes will be very strong, but having said that there are some other teams that are not in full bloom in terms of their development yet. Reliability will be key for the first four flyaway races, and from Barcelona onwards we will see the real pecking order come to the fore.”
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes