McLaren executive director Zak Brown is targeting podiums and fighting for victories in 2018 with new power unit partner Renault.
A double-podium in the opening race of 2014 is the only time McLaren has scored a top three finish since the V6 turbocharged power units were introduced, with the past three years seeing the team struggle in partnership with Honda. Next season will mark the start of a new power unit supply deal with Renault, and asked if podiums and the chance to win is McLaren’s expectation, 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. And of course it’s a complete package: the drivers, the team, the chassis, the power unit and we’re up for it, we’re excited, 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.”
Brown believes the works Renault team will also be a threat if power unit progress is good enough, a scenario he believes would be beneficial to F1 as a whole and could act as an example of what the sport should be targeting with its next set of power unit regulations.
“I would like to think that we are going to have a chance at winning,” he said. “Renault’s a great team, has won many races before and I think it would be very healthy for the sport to see five teams winning.”
“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 chose from. So hopefully next year can be the start of some additional teams winning.”