Renault Sport would be open to the McLaren F1 Team having an influence on the design of their engine in the future, but Cyril Abiteboul feels this won’t happen until at least 2020.
2018 marks the first year of partnership between Renault and McLaren after the latter’s departure away from Honda after three disappointing seasons, but whereas the relationship with the Japanese manufacturer saw them be a works team, they will be a customer outfit with the French outfit.
The contract to sign with Renault came too late for McLaren to have any influence on the design of the current engine, and whilst Abiteboul, the Team Principal of the works Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, says they will be open to suggestions from the Woking-based team about the future direction of the engine design, the earliest when they are likely to have a true influence will be in their third season together in 2020.
“It’s a bit complex,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “First and foremost, we developed a complete power unit before working with McLaren, so it’s not like with Honda, where Honda was dependent upon McLaren – we have the whole parameters of the power unit under our responsibility.
“I think we will take it step by step. We want to be very pragmatic. Clearly for 2018 and even 2019, it’s very late for McLaren to have any influence on the hardware of the engine.
“Having said that, we want to be humble. We accept that we can improve our product, that we have to improve our product, and we will be open to their suggestion.
“I think it’s more on the medium to long-term. First, we have to accept it’s a new relationship, we will have to see how it evolves, but if it’s working well, if it’s a fruitful and positive relationship, then there is no reason it could not go further than this cycle of regulation.
“And therefore that we can have a different and more connected way of working together for the medium to long-term future. But it’s not something for before 2020 in my opinion.”