Last year Renault power units were hardly the most reliable pieces of kit on the Formula 1 grid last year, but this is a risk McLaren are prepared to take in their quest to return to the sharp end of proceedings in 2018 after three years of frustration and below par performances.
McLaren chief Zak Brown explained the reasoning behind the pragmatic approach they will take with their new F1 engine supplier, “I think we’ve got lots of concerns going into every racing season, not just power unit. Ultimately we’re very confident.”
“[Renault have] 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.”
“I’m sure we’ll have an engine issue at some point during this year, but that’s racing. 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,” Brown pointed out.
Big Question: Are McLaren expecting too much of their new Renault F1 engine deal?