McLaren racing director Eric Bouillier has called for patience ahead of his team’s new alliance with engine supplier Renault.
Fernando Alonso won his two world titles racing for Renault in 2005 and 2006 and was quick to suggest he was expecting great things from the new alliance, with the tie-up seen as pivotal to retaining the Spaniard’s services after a disastrous three years with Honda.
The Spaniard has made it clear a car with a competitive engine is key to him remaining with McLaren and continuing in F1.
“Whatever I do next year is because I want to win. I will not be around in any series fighting for top-10 or top-15,” he told the F1 website ahead of McLaren’s divorce with Honda in September.
Ironically, McLaren’s partnership with Honda was seen as key to Alonso joining McLaren in the first place, with the team seeking to recreate the glory days of the 80’s and 90’s with Honda.
However, the blame for the disastrous three years which have ensued has been laid firmly at the door of the Japanese engines.
Ninth in 2015 and sixth in 2016 led to McLaren calling time on a three-year deal in September.
Now Alonso is pointing to Red Bull’s results in 2017 with Renault, and in particular Max Verstappen’s victory in Malaysia, as showing that with a superior chassis and aerodynamic package it can challenge for race wins.
However, Bouillier doesn't appear to share that confidence and has reminded McLaren fans that Red Bull have had a ten-year head start on their UK rivals.
Christian Horner and co. have been with Renault since 2007, during which time they have won four consecutive constructors' championships from 2010 to 2013 although Horner famously stated in 2014 that when his drivers “push the button, the car stops!"
“If you have a 10-year relationship with a partner obviously you have a different connection which we don’t have yet as we are building the relationship. It is going to take some time but we are very motivated to do the best," Boullier said as per Crash.
“If you are McLaren you are designed for winning so we will do everything we can to be winning. If you have the full package which means an okay engine, the best car and the best crew and driver you should be winning. So for us the pressure is the same.”
“McLaren’s DNA is to be competitive – the team has always been in the top three and we belong there again. Today we know that we have a decent chassis, which would allow us to be in the top three again with an equal level engine, so for us as a business it is important to be competitive.
“I like it because I am fan of no bullshit so if you have a team next door with the same engine it means if you don’t beat them something is wrong with the rest of the car. That is perfect.”
Nevertheless, for fans of Alonso - who is demanding a competitive car - Bouillier's cautionary comments. With still no confirmation regarding the Spaniard's future, there is still the possibility he could leave at the end of the season.