McLaren has no regrets about its off-season move from Honda power to Renault despite contrasting performances in Formula 1's winter testing.

Toro Rosso and McLaren effectively swapped engine suppliers over the break with Honda now powering the Italian outfit.

While McLaren battled mechanical issues in Barcelona, Kiwi Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso team enjoyed a strong couple of weeks, completing a huge number of laps without any major problems.

But McLaren insist they have made the right move and are convinced they will be further up the field than Toro Rosso.


"We don't see Toro Rosso as our number one competitor," executive director Zak Brown told Radio Sport. "We certainly need to be beating them. They are a great team, with great drivers.

"Honda had a very good winter testing but we are focused on our own program, we made our decision. We are comfortable with the decision we made."

McLaren didn't complete as many laps at the two four-day winter test sessions in Barcelona as they would have liked. Bad weather hampered all teams but McLaren lost significant time compared to their rivals to fix mechanical issues with their car but Brown is adamant there is no major concern.

"It is the first time we have had a Renault on the back of our car," he said. "We had some teething issues, which is to be expected.

"We had more teething issues than we would have liked but I would say there were some McLaren issues in there not just Renault issues. We made some mistakes.

"We have a pretty sophisticated race car and the problems we had were pretty minor and easy to fix. All the problems we had we have identified.

13 Mar, 2018 1:00pm
4 minutes to read

"We didn't get the amount of laps we would have liked.

"The car is fast, the drivers liked it, we are happy with our Renault power so I think we will be OK."

The goal for McLaren this year is to push the big three teams while beating the rest.

"Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes came out very strong," Brown said. "Mixing it up with them is going to be success. Beating everyone else is what we need to do. I think we need to be on the podium, mixing it up at the front."

In 2018 McLaren will revert back to the famous papaya colour scheme that the team was famous for back in the founding days of iconic Kiwi Bruce McLaren.

"We are very proud of Bruce McLaren and our heritage," Brown said. "His daughter, we are in contact with. It is great that the movie came out last year and it is also what the fans have been shouting for for so many years."

The first race of the Formula 1 season is next weekend in Melbourne.

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