Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes his former team McLaren's switch to Renault power-units for 2018 could be the catalyst the team needs in order to fight for the world championship once again.
Ferrari and Mercedes fought it out for the titles this year, with Red Bull joining the fray near the end of the year.
McLaren, meanwhile, remained in the doldrums with Honda power, and the teams last title of any kind was Hamilton's maiden drivers crown back in 2008.
The last constructors title was in 1998, when Mika Hakkinen won that year's drivers title.
McLaren decided they'd had enough of Honda power this year, and the switch to Renault has given the team a confidence boost and, based on Red Bull's three wins with that same power-unit this year, they believe they can be back at the front next year, along with excellent chassis development.
Hamilton has always kept an eye on how is old team have been doing, and finds it quite sad that they are still struggling. But, next year he feels it could be a four-way scrap for the championship.
Ferrari are likely to be closer, if not ahead, of Mercedes, Red Bull will make gains, and if the Renault power-unit is finally on the pace, McLaren may at last be winning once again.
“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship,” Hamilton said. “I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again. We can't stand still - we have to keep moving forwards.”
The decision for McLaren to ditch Honda was a tough one, and the team did give the Japanese manufacturer much of the season to rectify their issues before finally agreeing to part ways.
Honda will now power Toro Rosso, who next year field Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said be believes that, at the end of the day, it was a business decision to leave Honda.
“In the end it was a business decision, which they [Honda] understand,” Boullier said. “Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top.”
The McLaren boss also felt key technical staff may have left the team, but fortunately no one did. If McLaren are at last winning again in 2018, it will be just reward for a team that has worked so hard these last few years, but ultimately let down by their engine supplier.
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