When the British team began the 2018 project, it might have expected to stay with Honda power beyond this year.
Instead, after three years of struggling with its Japanese works partner, McLaren is moving from Honda to Renault.
But Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Renault power unit has a “completely different architecture”.
McLaren designer Matt Morris confirms: “We had to redesign the clutch and the gearbox.”
The cooling and radiator requirements are also completely different, with Morris admitting that McLaren will simply rely on Renault’s recommendations for the first year.
“Only with more experience does it make sense to develop something of our own,” he said.
Targeting podium and Red Bull
Next season McLaren must push for the podium, and Brown won’t commit to that being a goal for next season.
“I wouldn’t say we’re going in there expecting a podium,” McLaren Formula 1 executive director Zak Brown said.
“I would say we’re going in there, hoping for a podium. If you expect that and you finish fourth, that’s a disappointment. If we go in there and finish fourth, you feel good. I just think it’s important that we don’t set expectations too high or too low.”
Most importantly, Brown hopes to stack up competitively to Renault Sport and Team Red Bull since they will share the same engine program next season.
“Certainly, Red Bull and Renault are easier targets because you know there is no power advantage or disadvantage so those are the two nearest markers to us that are not engine-specific,” Brown said.
So to the critics who say McLaren hasn’t won a constructors championship since the turn of the millennium, Brown says he’s optimistic to shift the narrative.
“That’s probably more by our own mistakes,” Brown said. “You guys would probably say we should have in ’05 or ’08 or ’07. We’ve won a ton of races but haven’t converted them into championships. But I’m fully confident we can take the fight to Red Bull.” He added
That’s even with the technical brilliance of Adrian Newey.
“Yeah, he’s pretty good,” Brown said. “But, I think we stack up well.”