Boullier backs Alonso’s Le Mans move
"We are in a sport where the driving is reduced more and more"
Eric Boullier says he supports Fernando Alonso’s move into the world of Le Mans racing.
Some believe that the McLaren driver getting permission to split his time between F1 and sports cars this year is the brainchild of team executive Zak Brown rather than Boullier.
But team boss Boullier insists he is not opposed.
"No, I support it," he told France’s L’Equipe.
Asked if Alonso simply needs an ’outlet’ now that he is not winning, Boullier answered: "It is not an outlet.
"We are in a sport where the driving is reduced more and more in order to lower costs. But the drivers understand that the more they drive, even if it is in other categories, the more they keep up the practice.
"As a boss, I like this argument," he added. "And if you are constantly racing, you have less temptations and fewer distractions."
However, Alonso’s 2018 programme really does appear hectic, where just around the Le Mans date alone the Spaniard will be racing for five weekends in a row.
Boullier said: "Fernando is a professional sportsman who is able to prepare for this.
"Last year, Fernando raced on 34 weekends, competing under different names in karting and other series. It’s what he likes to do," he added.
Asked if working with Alonso is as difficult as his reputation would suggest, Boullier answered: "Not at all.
"Fernando is a fighter and all champions are never satisfied and want more. It is a positive pressure."
But it might be argued that Alonso’s pressure is sometimes over the top, including when he repeatedly complained about Honda’s engine over the radio.
"If he had not let off steam, he would have exploded," Boullier argues.
"We are talking about a driver who won two titles fighting against Michael Schumacher, and for three seasons he was forced to cope with the fact that he cannot even fight for top positions.
"Worst still, when your engine doesn’t work, you cannot warm up the tyres and brakes, you use more fuel and so have to lift off the gas pedal. It’s hard to reconcile a driver of his level with these facts," he said.