Prost confident McLaren & Renault can challenge at the front in 2018

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Four-time Formula 1 world champion and current Renault advisor, Alain Prost, thinks the new collaboration with McLaren will see the British team back fighting at the very front of the grid in 2018.

Two weeks ago in Singapore, it was confirmed McLaren will end their troubled partnership with Honda after just three seasons and switch to the French manufacturer in a bid to return to the front, where they feel they should be.

Some have been unsure, however, whether the change will actually yield the necessary improvement because, while Red Bull has won a race this year in Baku, the Renault power unit hasn't had the performance, reliability or upgrades to make the team regular challengers to Mercedes and Ferrari as they make up ground with the chassis.

Despite that, Prost is confident improvements coming plus the technical ability of McLaren will see this year's shortfalls overcome.

"The Renault engine is probably not the best, but it is getting there and will be missing very little next year against the Mercedes and that little amount can be offset by some other aspects that contribute to performance," the Frenchman claimed to Auto Hebdo.

"McLaren, who know very well the ups and downs of this discipline as well, will also bring a lot to Renault."

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Though very positive about the outlook for their new partnership, Prost admits he was surprised by the inability of his McLaren and Honda to get their act together but understood why.

"They are in their fifth season without a victory and certainly believed that in relaunching the Honda partnership they would quickly relive their best moments from the past," he said, having been a part of that once dominant team. "Especially with that third big name in the mix, Fernando Alonso, who is also in a hurry to win again

"[But], quite honestly, even Renault - the pioneer of the V6 turbo - did not arrive with an exceptional power unit," he said comparing the Japanese manufacturer's plight to their own. "And even after four seasons, it is not at the level of Mercedes."