McLaren influence on Renault engine unlikely until 2020

Renault is open to McLaren influencing the design of its F1 engine, but says the British team is unlikely to have any impact until the partnership enters its third season.

McLaren influence on Renault engine unlikely until 2020
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 battle for position
 Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team Team RS17, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Felipe Massa, Williams FW40, on the formation lap

McLaren has given up works status with Honda to join Renault's customer F1 engine programme until the end of 2020, when the current V6 rules cycle concludes.

As a works partner with Honda, McLaren influenced the design and packaging of Honda's troubled F1 engine, sending personnel to Honda's Sakura HQ and even collaborating on the design of certain electrical components of the power unit.

By returning to customer status, McLaren will now have to adjust its 2018 chassis around whatever product Renault delivers.

McLaren hopes to influence Renault's engine in a similar way to Honda as their new relationship develops, but Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com the deal for 2018 came too late for McLaren to have any immediate say on engine design and packaging.

Abiteboul said Renault would be "open to their suggestion" but cautioned McLaren would probably have to wait until the final season of its initial three-year deal to hold any real sway.

"It's a bit complex," Abiteboul said. "First and foremost, we developed a complete power unit before working with McLaren, so it's not like with Honda, where Honda was dependent upon McLaren - we have the whole parameters of the power unit under our responsibility.

"I think we will take it step by step. We want to be very pragmatic. Clearly for 2018 and even 2019, it's very late for McLaren to have any influence on the hardware of the engine.

"Having said that, we want to be humble. We accept that we can improve our product, that we have to improve our product, and we will be open to their suggestion.

"I think it's more on the medium to long-term. First, we have to accept it's a new relationship, we will have to see how it evolves, but if it's working well, if it's a fruitful and positive relationship, then there is no reason it could not go further than this cycle of regulation.

"And therefore that we can have a different and more connected way of working together for the medium to long-term future. But it's not something for before 2020 in my opinion."

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