McLaren F1 Fire-Up The New MCL33 With The Renault Engine

McLaren F1 has switched to Renault as their engine suppliers for 2018. This brought to an end the failed and bitter saga between McLaren and Honda. Much was expected of the iconic partnership of the 1980s and 1990s, when they reunited in 2015. But three seasons later, there was an acrimonious end to the relationship.

McLaren F1 Fire-Up The New MCL33 With The Renault Engine

The team did not reveal their livery during the fire-up. There have been hints that the livery will be changed dramatically for the new season.

McLaren signed up for an engine deal with Renault in a dramatic multi-pronged deal during last season. This compex deal saw Honda switch to Toro Rosso as engine suppliers for 2018. The Woking-based outfit has for a couple of seasons claimed that their chassis is one of the best in the business. They claimed that the only thing that was holding them back was the unreliable and underpowered Honda engines.

Now it is time to walk the talk for McLaren. The top management of Zak Brown (Executive Director) and Eric Boullier (Racing Director) have expressed optimism that the new Renault engines will see them return to the sharp end of the grid.

Fernando Alonso, two-time world champion and star driver, re-signed with the team at the end of the 2017 season. Alonso was convinced that the potential of the Renault-McLaren partnership will return him to winning ways. If this potential does not come to fruition, the Spaniard could well walk away from the sport.

The Name Change in 2017

For many years Ron Dennis was the driving force behind the McLaren team. As Dennis departed from the team he built and Bruce McLaren founded, the nomenclature for the names used for the F1 cars was changed. From 1981, the McLaren cars were using the “MP4” designation.

MP4 stood for “Marlboro Project Four” named after their main title sponsor. The MP4 morphed into “McLaren Project Four” later. Project Four was the name of┬áRon Dennis’s F2 team that merged with the Formula 1 team.

Every succesive year the cars would be called MP4-XX. So the 2016 car was called MP4-31. When Ron Dennis was forced out in 2017, the car was renamed and called MCL32 . In 2017, the new challenger will be called MCL33.

The Fire-Up

Given the lean pickings of this marquee team for five seasons in a row, McLaren need a dramatic turnaround in 2018. As a Renault customer team they will be in direct competition with Red Bull Racing. The Milton Keynes-based outfit finished third last season. Red Bull started challenging for wins on pure pace at the end of 2017 itself. The Renault works team was also on an ascendant path as the season progressed.

So far, McLaren’s top officials have been full of praise for their new partner, Renault. They have proclaimed the French manufacturer as easy to work with compared to Honda. They have also said the better performing Renault engines could lead to significant gains in lap time.

McLaren Is Bullish

Matt Morris,┬áChief Engineering Officer, said:“I think the big difference, speaking with all the guys at Renault, is they have got more experience.

“Those guys on the ground have been doing it for a lot longer than Honda, that is just a fact, and that is what allowed us to get the packaging done so quickly.

“It is just their experience and the same is true in their factory at Viry which is more mature than Honda. It might not have as many fancy dynos, but they just have more experience.”

The V6 Hybrid-Engine era started well for McLaren back in 2014. The first race in Australia saw both their drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, on the podium. Since then, the podium has eluded the team. McLaren fans can only hope that 2018 is a start of a new era which will see a return to form for the team.

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