McLaren F1 Team‘s Executive Director Zak Brown believes that had the team had access to a Renault Sport power unit in the 2017 Formula 1 season, they could have been on a par with Red Bull Racing in terms of performance.
The McLaren and Red Bull chassis’ are often cited as two of the strongest on the grid, but McLaren hasn’t been able to showcase it to the best of its ability in recent years owing to the power deficit of the Honda power unit. However, both teams will be Renault customers in the coming season.
Brown is convinced that 2017 could have been significantly different for McLaren had they been with Renault. The reality of the situation was that Red Bull finished third in the Constructor’s Championship with three wins, and McLaren in ninth with their highest finish a sixth place by Fernando Alonso at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He believes the chassis along with the power unit could have produced similar results to the Red Bull team.
“You can quite easily look with GPS, and all the teams can do the same thing,” he said, in an interview with RACER.
“In 2017 – because next season nobody knows – if we had the Renault power plant in there we would have been there or thereabouts with Red Bull. Some races ahead of them, some races behind them, but we would have been around there.”
He is reluctant to comment on whether they will be in this situation for the coming season, mentioning that it is difficult to know whether the chassis will react as well with the higher speeds it will be subjected to.
“You ultimately don’t know what the car will do when it speeds up.
You can have a general idea, but we’re not working our aero as hard coming into Turn 1 because we’re not coming in at the same top speed, so we know if we would have had X more top speed but that’s all by the engine, and then you don’t know exactly what you’d have done under braking and turn-in because you’d have been working the downforce differently.“