The McLaren F1 Team has confidence in their new engine suppliers Renault Sport, despite the French manufacturer having had reliability issues during the 2017 season.
McLaren dissolved their partnership with Honda at the end of 2017 due to their own reliability and competitiveness concerns, but Zak Brown says he expects a much stronger campaign with Renault, particularly as the engine won three races during the season with Red Bull Racing.
Throughout their three years with Honda, McLaren were hindered by a lack of pace compared to their rivals, and Brown reckons Renault is up there with the power units from Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari and will benefit their performance in 2018.
Renault-powered teams took a huge number of engine penalties in 2017, particularly in the closing races of the season, but Brown feels there are more positives in taking the French manufacturer’s power unit than negatives.
“They’ve got the power,” said Brown on stage at the Autosport International Show. “They’ve got some reliability issues when they turn the power up. Mexico was a setting issue, but Max [Verstappen] did win the race in pretty dominant fashion, so they’ve got a fast engine.
“I actually think the top three [engines] are pretty close, and have all won races last year, so there’s clearly not that big of a deficit between those three.
“We have some areas we can improve, we’re not perfect, but the lack of power was the single biggest area of weakness, so I think when we get the Renault in the back we should see a substantial difference in Australia.
“We’re happy with our working relationship with Renault, and we should hopefully get back to where people are used to seeing McLaren at the front of the field.”