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McLaren will "keep a close eye on everybody" in 2018

Written by  Dec 28, 2017

McLaren believes it would be a mistake to underestimate any of their midfield rivals from making significant progress and joining them higher up the grid in 2018.

The British team is expected to be one of the big movers in the pecking order next season, as they switch from the under-performing Honda engine to the same Renault unit used by Red Bull to win three times this year.

On what would be a level playing field with the Milton Keynes outfit, it would be down to those in the factory in Woking to make the difference and, on that point, Executive Director Zak Brown has confidence his team can rise to the challenge.

"We’ve got, as all the teams do, data that shows where you’re at and we were there and thereabouts with Red Bull," he told Sky Sports referencing the 2017 car. "I think in some races we would’ve beaten them, in some races they would’ve beaten us.

"I think we had an excellent chassis, our engineers, our designers, the men and women here behind me did an excellent job and we saw the car continue to improve, so we’re very excited for next season."

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Yet, while McLaren has aspirations of making the big three a big four at the front, Brown also acknowledges many other teams could well make major improvements in the second year of the current design rules.

"I think we got to keep a close eye on everybody," he claimed.

"Renault the factory team is going to be tough. Force India is a great team that punch above their weight, Williams is a great team that struggled a little bit in the last year and Sauber is now going to have a more current Ferrari [engine], so I think it will be a mistake to count any of the competitors out."

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