McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that he is pushing to improve the team's reliability ahead of winter testing to ensure that running throughout the eight days is smooth.
McLaren suffered from a number of reliability issues last year at pre-season testing which harmed its predictions and data heading into the new season. The campaign would ultimately be a disappointing one for the Woking squad, as it slipped towards the rear of the field as the season wore on.
But Brown says the Woking outfit is working to ensure it doesn't happen again: “I don’t want to share in detail some of the things we’re doing differently this offseason than we did last season,” Brown said.
“We are doing things differently, to be more prepared, not just with performance but we had a lot of reliability issues going into Barcelona testing last year. So we have taken some measures to get ahead of that. We will continue to develop as all F1 teams do, on a weekly basis, and we’ll bring to Australia our most developed performance that we’ve been doing here since we started developing the car and having reliability programs to make sure.
“One of the reasons why we were slower to bring performance (in 2018) is because we had reliability issues. You roll off the truck in Barcelona, instead of being able to get straight down to performance, you’re having issues — wheel nut issues, heating issues — you then stop focusing on performance and you start focusing on reliability.
“The team did a good job to give us reliability coming out of Spain testing, to have cars both finish in the points in Australia. We’re in a better place performance wise and reliability coming into winter testing.”
McLaren still content with Renault partnership
2018 marked McLaren's first year with Renault as its engine supplier, following its divorce from Honda. The Japanese manufacturer will partner Red Bull this year, but Brown is confident that McLaren will have a strong engine at its disposal.
“We’re very happy with Renault. The challenges that we had were not power unit related, those were our issues. The power unit I don’t believe was our challenge. Honda of course continue to develop and do an excellent job, that doesn’t surprise us. I’m glad they’re still in the sport because I think that’s something that was being discussed by them internally.
“Renault ended the season with I think four or five podiums, won some races, so we are confident we made the right decision for our long-term future. To get a better racecar on the track is the challenge that we have ahead of us.”