Matching Red Bull will "take some time" for McLaren after Renault switch

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McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has tempered expectations of an immediate return to the front in 2018, believing the Woking team will "take some time" to build their new engine partnership with Renault.

The British outfit is looking to turnaround three years of frustration with Honda and think they can be challengers to the top Renault-powered team Red Bull, which consequentially would put them in a position to potentially claim wins for the first time since 2012.

However, Boullier admits patience will be needed before that high target is attained due to the usual teething problems of a new collaboration though has confidence it can be done.

"If you have a 10-year relationship with a partner obviously you have a different connection which we don’t have yet as we are building the relationship," the Frenchman commented. 

"It is going to take some time but we are very motivated to do the best. If you are McLaren you are designed for winning so we will do everything we can to be winning."

Throughout the past three seasons, the team has argued they have a chassis which is among the best on the grid but haven't been able to utilise it due to the lack of engine performance.

Though Renault are also believed to a step behind Mercedes and Ferrari, Boullier does expect to get an answer to their long-held claim and is very much keen to compare themselves to what Red Bull can produce.

"If you have the full package which means an okay engine, the best car and the best crew and driver you should be winning. So for us the pressure is the same," he said.

"I like it because I am fan of no bullshit so if you have a team next door with the same engine it means if you don’t beat them something is wrong with the rest of the car. That is perfect."

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The one weakness that Renault does have is qualifying, when their teams are unable to use an extra boost in power just for the single lap. This has been why Red Bull has sat fifth in sixth so many times this season, but the French manufacturer is working on solving that.

“We are catching up progressively and I think the Renault power unit is actually becoming very decent in race operation, but indeed we are definitely missing something in qualifying,” said Renault Sport Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul.

“Obviously it’s always a balance running safe and being aggressive and obviously the more potential performance we have then the more capacity we will have to be aggressive on Saturdays.

“This is what’s on plan for next year, even though we believe also that the regulation will help us in bridging any sort of deficit in relation to that on Saturday. So it’s positive and I think it’s something that McLaren could also see and part of the decision of working with us for the next three years.”