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McLaren confident it will have a say on Renault direction

Peter Prodromou (GBR) McLaren Chief Engineer
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McLaren has downplayed suggestions that it will have only limited input on the development of Renault's engine.

Earlier this week, Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul caused a stir when he said it was "very late" for McLaren to have any major input into the company's power unit in 2018 and 2019.

"We will have to see how it evolves," Abiteboul said of the fledgling relationship with its newest customer team. "But it's not something for before 2020 in my opinion."

McLaren has already needed to adapt the MCL33 chassis to the specifics of its new partner's V6 hybrid unit. Previously, McLaren would set the strategy and Honda duly complied with its engine designs.

However, McLaren's aerodynamics boss Peter Prodromou has a more optimistic view of the situation facing the team in 2018. He previously worked at Red Bull Racing, and has experience of what it is like to work with the French manufacturer.

"The relationship was very positive and extremely fruitful," Prodromou told Spain's AS newspaper this week.

The collaboration between Red Bull and Renault resulted in four world constructors championships between 2010 and 2013. Prodromou said that it had been a two-way dynamic between the companies.

"Part of the success was not only attributed to Milton Keynes but also Viry-Ch√Ętillon," he explained, referring to Renault's main plant, the Gordini factory located just outside Paris.

"For instance, the diffuser is something we worked on very closely together," he pointed out. "I hope we can replicate that relationship at McLaren now."

Prodromou acknowledged that the circumstances weren't entirely similar. Red Bull's partnership was as a works team, before Renault returned to the sport as a constructor.

"It's different of course and we are customers," Prodromou admitted. "But over time I think we can work closely and forge strong relationships.

"We can influence some of the work they do, and we'll get the additional benefits that come from a relationship with a manufacturer," he added.

McLaren management has already voiced optimism that 2018 will see a renaissance at Woking after ending its troubled tie-up with Honda.

"The big difference, speaking with all the guys at Renault, is they have got more experience," said engineering director Matt Morris. "It is more mature than Honda.

"It might not have as many fancy dynos, but they just have more experience."

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