Amid a problem packed final week of testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne revealed that he believes the relationship his team has with Renault is better than it ever was during the three-year partnership with Honda.
Speaking to reporters after spending Thursday in the cockpit of the MCL3, covering more miles than the team has ever done on a single test day since the beginning of the turbo hybrid era, “Until now everything has been going very well.”
“I think McLaren and Renault are perhaps closer than it’s ever been with Honda, also because the culture is much more similar.”
“It’s a very open relationship. If somebody makes a mistake, the other party doesn’t get the blame. If there are problems they quickly find a solution as well.”
Despite the niggles this week, Vandoorne saw the positives, “Maybe that change was necessary to give the team a boost. We have had a very positive test, even if we had some problems. Everyone has a positive feeling and that’s important for our motivation.”
Vandoorne was sixth fastest at the end of his final day of testing in the car, albeit 1.7 seconds off Sebastian Vettel’s table-topping time in the Ferrari.
The Belgian driver acknowledged, “Of course there are teams that are very quick but I don’t think the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes are our targets this year. We have to improve everywhere. This is a sport where there’s not a single team that stops looking for improvements everywhere.”
“Because you have a good feeling in the car, it’s not that there’s no issues to resolve. I’m happy with the package we have. In terms of the setup, we know more or less where we are with all the systems on the car. We understand how to use them,” added Vandoorne.