McLaren: Honda lacks Renault's F1 experience

Go inside an F1 simulator (3:54)

Nico Hulkenberg puts some up-and-coming engineers through their paces with the help of Renault's race simulator. (3:54)

McLaren says adapting its 2018 car to the demands created by the late switch to Renault from Honda was made easier by the French manufacturer's level of Formula One experience.

Having grown tired with Honda's repeated failures, McLaren confirmed its switch to Renault ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix last September. That left the team several weeks behind schedule in the build of its 2018 car, which it had to adapt in order to package an entirely different power unit.

Despite the increased workload immediately after the switch, technical director Tim Goss insists the compromises made were minimal.

"It is fair to say we had to take what we were given," Goss said. "There were some minor changes here and there but Renault at Viry [-Chatillon, home of Renault's factory] had made their major choices with their existing teams so there wasn't time or opportunity to change things but there is very little in terms of overall concept that we had to compromise on. We had to change a lot but there isn't much we had to give up on."

Honda returned to the F1 grid in 2015, the first time it had been in the sport in any capacity since withdrawing its factory team at the end of the 2008 season. While Renault's own factory team only made a comeback in 2016, the French manufacturer has been on the grid in some guise for decades -- for example, it powered Red Bull during its dominance of the early 2010s.

According to chief engineering officer Matt Morris, that helped minimise the pain caused by the timing of the Renault announcement.

"I think the big difference is speaking with all the guys at Renault they've inherently got a lot more experience," he said. "Those guys that are on the ground have been doing it a lot longer than the guys at Honda, and that's just a fact. I think that's what's allowed us to get the packaging done so quickly.

"We had a big list of questions: 'Right, we've got two weeks to do this, we need all this information within the next 24 hours.' All that information came back because Renault is just used to customer teams turning up and wanting the same sort of information. I think that's probably the biggest difference at the moment, it's just their experience.

"The same is true in their factory in Viry. It's just more mature than Honda. It might not have as many fancy dynos or whatever but they've just got more experience. We're over there at the moment doing some work on the dyno with them and again that's just been seamless. Taking our gearbox and running it on the back of the engine has been a really easy and obviously useful process."

Honda has remained on the grid for 2018 by securing a new partnership with Toro Rosso.