Matt Morris believes the McLaren F1 Team will head into pre-season testing this year in as good a place as they can be, as they begin their first season with Renault Sport as their engine partners.
The chief engineering officer of the Woking-based squad admitted it was a late decision to switch to Renault power after three years with Honda, but with pre-season testing just around the corner and the car set to be launched at the end of the week, McLaren are ready to get going.
Morris admits there has been times when the scheduling has been tight with the development of the 2018 machine, but despite the late confirmation of the switch to Renault, they feel more prepared for pre-season testing than at any time they did whilst with Honda.
“It’s always nice to be a little bit further ahead than wherever you are, but in terms of all the sign-off of the car, running it on the back of a Renault engine, we should be going into winter testing in a couple of weeks in as good a state as we can be,” Morris is quoted of saying by RACER.
“Even if we changed the engine earlier, we could have done a lot of things earlier, we try and push it as late as possible anyway, things like the chassis and gearbox layout, it coincided with the last minute, ‘we really need to release the chassis now, Eric [Boullier, Racing Director], Zak [Brown, Executive Director], can you tell me which engine we’re putting in?’ It was that sort of decision. Luckily they sorted that one just in time.
“There were few weeks where it was a bit tight, but since then we’ve sort of been on a normal program, really. It’s not like we’ve been playing catch up. We were playing catch up for two weeks to get back onto the normal program. Some of the things that we’ve been doing, in particular with Renault, over the last few months, I think we’ll be better prepared for that first day in Barcelona than maybe we have been in the past with Honda.”