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Renault confirms talks with McLaren over 2018 F1 engine supply

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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed that talks have taken place with McLaren regarding a potential engine supply for the 2018 season.

McLaren is currently considering its options after three difficult years working with Honda, whose power units have lacked both reliability and performance, causing the relationship to sour.

After reported talks with Mercedes and Ferrari over a 2018 supply broke down, McLaren has now turned to Renault, which offers the last viable alternative to Honda for next year.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Abiteboul confirmed that reports of talks between Renault and McLaren were accurate, but is doubtful of supplying an additional team to the three already powered by the French manufacturer: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, and its own factory team.

“The situation is that we have multi-year contracts with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. Frankly, we are open to discussions,” Abiteboul said.

“I can confirm that there have been discussions with McLaren. There is a restriction in the regulations if we wanted to supply more than three teams.

“Any addition to that, I don’t think that it would be reasonable to believe that we could supply more than three without degrading the level of service and the quality of service for the other teams. We’ve had discussions.

“We value the relationship with Red Bull. It’s a long-standing relationship and we would like to carry this relationship until its term, 2020.”

Honda had been rumored to be in talks with Toro Rosso regarding an engine supply for 2018, creating the possibility of a swap with McLaren for next year, but both parties have denied this after reports suggested initial discussions broke down.

McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”