MARCH 19, 2016
Boullier will not convince Alonso to stay in F1
Eric Boullier insists it is not his "responsibility" to convince Fernando Alonso to keep racing in formula one.
With McLaren-Honda still only a midfield runner in 2016, paddock rumours are swirling in Melbourne that the Spaniard might pull out of his contract with the team and quit F1 altogether before the end of this season.
"Fernando will leave," predicted Telegraph correspondent Daniel Johnson in a feature for Sky television.
The Times' Kevin Eason agreed: "There may be no Fernando towards the end of the season."
So when asked if he feels a responsibility to talk Alonso out of it, team boss Boullier said: "We brought Fernando in because we believe that together we can win.
"My responsibility to Fernando is that he always knows what we are doing and what progress we have made.
"But I do not have to convince him of anything," Boullier said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais. "If you don't want to race, you don't race.
"We believe in this project. We are starting from a long way back, but the best way to see the potential is to analyse the progress we have made so far."
And as for Alonso, "I think that while he still believes in the project he will not go anywhere else," Boullier added.
But the Frenchman does admit that, in the minds of money, McLaren's awful showing in 2015 did a lot of damage to the British team's historic and successful brand.
"We are talking about the worst season in the history of McLaren," Boullier said, "but you can always see a glass half full or half empty.
"It is clear that in some ways there was a negative effect, but on the other hand we were forced to rethink strategies and to rapidly change.
"Now there are other sponsors who have joined us, and let's not forget that with us Honda is back with a maximum engagement in F1. But let's say that last season was a wake-up call for everyone," he added.