McLaren boss Zak Brown reckons his team will be in a position to return to winning ways in the 2018 Formula One season, following a switch to Renault power.
The 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix marked McLaren’s last victory in F1, but having ended its disastrous three-year spell with Japanese engine manufacturer Honda in favour of a tie-up with Renault, the Woking-based outfit is hoping to be in contention for the podium positions in 2018
When asked if he felt McLaren can compete for podiums and victories in 2018, Brown replied: “That’s certainly our goal. We’re very confident in the Renault engine. They’ve got a great history in the sport and won half the championships in the last ten, fifteen years.”
Toto Wolff told ESPN in December that Mercedes was willing to supplyMcLaren with power units for this year, but a potential deal fell through with the reigning world champions unable to put the required infrastructure in place to cater for a fourth customer team at such short notice.
McLaren team boss Eric Boullier previously admitted McLaren’s late switch from Honda to Renault power had left it two weeks behind schedule going into the new season, however, Brown is confident McLaren will be in a far stronger position with new engine supplier Renault.
“It’s a complete package: the drivers, the team, the chassis, the power unit and we’re up for it, we’re excited, and we’re well prepared. We think we have the tools that we need so podiums are what we are going to be going for, whether that’s the third, second or first step — hopefully it’s a combination of all the above. I would like to think that we are going to have a chance at winning.”
Brown also said he hopes 2018 will provide F1 fans with greater entertainment value and a more competitive playing field, allowing as many as five different teams to challenge for wins across the course of the campaign.
“Renault’s a great team, it has won many races before and I think it would be very healthy for the sport to see five teams winning. Coming back to the earlier conversation of what we would like to see in 2021 is a more level playing field so when the fans tune in to a grand prix they don’t have it narrowed down to two or three drivers that they think are going to win the race, that they’ve got seven, eight or nine they’ve got to choose from. So hopefully next year can be the start of some additional teams winning.”