The McLaren F1 Team’s targets in 2018 will include being the best of the Renault-powered teams after the Woking-based squad made the switch to the French engine supplier after three years with Honda, according to Racing Director Eric Boullier.
McLaren had been the sole representative of Honda on the grid since 2015 but that honour now goes to Scuderia Toro Rosso, and despite the results with Honda not being as strong as hoped, there has been confidence behind the scenes that the team has developed a good chassis, and now with other teams running with the same engine supplier it will give them a benchmark to aim for.
“We can’t deny it’s been three difficult years,” said Boullier to RACER. “On track, it has been very difficult. Off track, there have been some positives, and actually much more than you think.
“I think the strength of McLaren is to keep our heads down, and I’m quite impressed and proud to see these guys during the last three years being very disappointed by the on-track result but still pushing so hard to improve McLaren as a racing organization to be better, to deliver better, to adapt and to catch up with the best teams.
“They’ve been pushing to adapt to the new regulations and to make sure this new car concept which we introduced three years reached a decent level of performance. This has been achieved, which is a lot of reward due to the McLaren side.”
However, Boullier says that the switch to Renault has given the team a new sense of expectation, and now the aim is to beat the other two Renault-powered teams on the grid in Red Bull Racing and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
“Now it’s going to be a different engine partner, so there is obviously a lot of expectation,” said Boullier. “We have a good chassis and I think it’s going to be important to see where we are now.
“We have competitors next year that are going to be Red Bull and Renault, we have the same power unit so we have to make sure we beat them. That’s the target.”