McLaren believes its switch to Renault has given it access to a power unit which is on a par with the best in the sport.
Group executive officer Zak Brown said his team are “very happy” with the partnership so far. “I know there’s a big debate on what’s the first, second and third best engine; in reality I think they’re all pretty close.”
“We’re excited and feel that they really wanted to do business with McLaren and we feel we will have total parity with Red Bull and the works team so we’re comfortable they’re going to give us everything they’ve got.”
Red Bull has previously criticised Renault’s power units, blaming them for its deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari. However Brown says McLaren has confidence in its new partner.
“When we made the decision to go with Renault it was long-term in nature,” he said. “Obviously the relationship with Red Bull for whatever reason, we all see it, has not been healthy. So it’s good that we have a very healthy relationship with Renault.”
“You look at the last time they had big success with another team, Williams, they were absolutely dominant. We’re set up for long-term success together.”
Reliability problems dogged Renaults efforts to get on terms with their rivals last year but Brown says progress is being made in this area.
“As far as power, reliability they’re happy with where they’re at and what’s been happening on the dyno,” he said. “And specifically the reliability, they think they’re on top of.”
“I think last year they had the power and it’s when they turned it up that reliability issues kicked in. They had their issues in Mexico but they also dominated the race. So we’re feeling good.”
Red Bull has consistently been the most competitive Renault-powered team but McLaren are ready to be judged against them with the same hardware. “If we’re nine-tenths off Red Bull that wouldn’t look good,” Brown admitted. “We don’t want to hide.”
2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year