French manufacturer Renault have said that they are open to customer team McLaren influencing their F1 engine design. However, they mentioned that the British marquee may not be in a position to do so until the partnership enters its third season. The McLaren team gave up their works status with Honda to join forces with Renault. As a result, the Woking squad will be part of the customer F1 engine programme until the end of 2020. Until then, the McLaren influence over the Renault power unit will be non-existent.
With Honda, McLaren had a say in the design and packaging of the Honda F1 engine. They even sent some personnel to Honda’s Sakura headquarters and collaborated on the design of certain electrical components of the power unit. Now that they are back on customer status, the team will have to tailor its chassis around the Renault power unit.
The Woking squad hopes to have a say on Renault’s engine similar to their relationship with Honda. However, Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes that the 2018 deal came too late, so McLaren lost the power to tailor the engine design and packaging.
Abiteboul said, “It’s a bit complex. 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. 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.”