McLaren’s chief engineering officer Matt Morris says that the Woking-based squad is better prepared for the upcoming season with Renault than it ever was with Honda. After three dismal years in partnership with the Japanese company, McLaren took the decision last year to part ways with Honda.
It announced that Renault would become its new engine supplier, with Honda moving to Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso. Morris says that despite the lateness of the deal in 2017, McLaren is more prepared than it has ever been when it was operating with Honda.
"Some of the things that we've been doing, in particular with Renault means I think we'll be better prepared for that first day in Barcelona than maybe we have been in the past with Honda," Morris said.
"It's always nice to be a little bit further ahead than wherever you are, but in terms of all the sign-off of the car, running it on the back of a Renault engine, we should be going into winter testing in a couple of weeks in as good a state as we can be," he added.
McLaren faced huge issues heading into the 2017 season after the Honda engine wouldn't fit properly into the chassis, before it then failed to fire up. However, Morris says there are no worries of a repeat heading into a new era with Renault.
"There were few weeks where it was a bit tight, but since then we've sort of been on a normal programme really [with Renault]," he said. "It's not like we've been playing catch up. We were playing catch up for two weeks to get back onto the normal programme.
"Even if we changed the engine earlier we could have done a lot of things earlier. But we try and push it as late as possible anyway, things like the chassis and gearbox layout, so it coincided with the last minute call, 'we really need to release the chassis now, Eric, Zak, can you tell me which engine we're putting in?' Luckily they sorted that one just in time."