Zak Brown says the McLaren F1 Team has a lot more confidence heading into the 2018 Formula 1 season thanks to its switch to Renault Sport power, and he believes this switch will aid them as they strive to return to the front of the field.
Despite concerns over the reliability of the Renault power unit when its power was turned up, it still showed to be a strong unit, particularly for the Red Bull Racing outfit, with Max Verstappen taking a dominant win in the Mexican Grand Prix despite four other Renault power units failing during the same race.
But McLaren executive director Brown feels Renault will get on top of those reliability concerns, and after three years struggling with Honda power units, there is more confidence heading into 2018 thanks to the alliance with Renault.
“I think we’ve got lots of concerns going into every racing season, not just power unit,” said Brown in the Marshall Pruett podcast. “Ultimately we’re very confident.
“They’ve got the power, they’ve demonstrated that they’ve got the power. They’ve had some reliability issues when they’ve turned the power on. You saw that in Mexico, someone said to me that they blew up four engines – yeah, but they did dominate the race.
“We want to get back to the front of the field. We know motor racing – performance can cause some reliability issues. We think they’re on top of it, they think they’re on top of it and they think they have identified what the issues were.”
Brown says he expects an engine issue or two to come during the season, but hopes they come when they are towards the front of the field, which he feels would be a vast improvement on what happened whilst Honda powered the team.
“I’m sure we’ll have an engine issue at some point during this year, but that’s racing,” added Brown. “We just hope not to have too many and we hope we have them at the front of the field. That would be a big improvement.
“We’ve got to rebound now so we need to set expectations; we’re not going to go back to challenge for the championship. And a Formula 1 team is more than just the power unit.
“So, no more concerns than I think anyone would have at any race course at the start of any season of any unknowns, but they know what they’re doing. They’ve won six championships in the last 13 years, so they’re very close.”