McLaren F1 Team’s Zak Brown still believes the decision to move to Renault Sport power at the end of the 2017 season is the correct choice, despite the teams disappointing 2018 season.
McLaren ended their three year engine partnership with Honda in 2017 as they aimed to move up the grid in 2018 by becoming Renault customers.
The team improved to sixth place in the constructors championship in 2018, aided by the Racing Point Force India F1 Team points total only starting from the Belgian Grand Prix.
The team had started the season strongly with Fernando Alonso scoring points in the opening five races and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne finishing in the points in three of the first four races.
The team dropped down the order as the season went on but Brown believes that was due to issues with the car itself.
“We’re very happy with Renault. The challenge that we had this year were not power unit related, those were our issues.” Said Brown to FormulaRapida.net. “The power unit I don’t believes was our challenge this year.”
Honda are still in the sport as they powered Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda last year and will power the main Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team in 2019 but Brown feels the results of the Renault powered Red Bull at the end of the season showed that McLaren made the right decision.
“Honda, of course, continue to develop and do an excellent job. That doesn’t surprise us.
“I’m glad they’re still in the sport because I think that’s something that was being discussed by them internally.
“Renault ended the season with I think four or five podiums, won some races, so we are confident we made the right decision for our long-term future.”
The Australian Grand Prix will be five year since the team were last on the podium thanks to Kevin Magnussen but Brown is adamant the team has a plan that will see them back fighting at the front of the grid again.
“I have just presented a five-year plan and within that plan, we think we have a journey to get back to winning races, and then once you’re winning races, you’re competing for the championship.
“We have laid out a journey and investment, a road to recovery that sees us getting back to the front of the grid in that timeline.”
The team have a new driver line-up in 2019 with Carlos Sainz Jr. joining the team from Renault Sport Formula One Team and Formula 2 graduate Lando Norris as McLaren look to continue moving back up the grid.