McLaren F1 Team chiefs have revealed that new engine supplier Renault Sport is on course to deliver a more powerful and reliable engine this season.
The French engine manufacturer won three races with Red Bull Racing last year, but also suffered difficulties with their reliability regarding with the engine, particularly with the MGU-K.
Renault have aimed to resolve these issues ahead of the new season, and are hoping they can provide a challenge to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari over the course of the upcoming season.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, McLaren chiefs have spoke ahead of testing saying signs from Renault’s Viry-Chatillion base are encouraging.
“There are no alarm bells ringing. They seem to be very confident – although it is best that they talk about the specifics,” said McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown.
“In terms of power and reliability, they are happy with where they are at and what has been happening on the dyno. And specifically the reliability – they think they are on top of it.
“Last year they had the power, and it was when they turned it up that the reliability issues kicked in. So they had their issues in Mexico but they also dominated the race, so we are feeling good.”
McLaren’s Chief Technical Officer (Chassis) Tim Goss added that with the new rules over how many engine parts a team can use within a season, reliability and mileage will now play a crucial part.
“They have developed the engine. They have improved it and it will be more powerful,” said Goss.
“One of the big challenges they have got, and all four power unit manufacturers have got, is the change in the sport regulations so there are only three ICEs and three MGU-Hs allowed per driver per season and two ES packs and two MGU-Ks.
“It is a huge task in stretching the mileage of the power units, so a lot of the focus for all the power unit manufacturers has been making sure they can get the extra mileage as opposed to just chasing performance.”
Brown also hinted about a possible inclusion of ‘magic modes’ within the engine to help boost qualifying performance, a area where McLaren were left behind last season with previous engine supplier, Honda, saying: “I hope so, and I think so.”