Dec 16

Hamilton predicts McLaren to join F1 title fight in 2018

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship”

2017-06-11_1130Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren’s switch to Renault power units from next season could become a catalyst for his former team’s charge to a Formula 1 world championship fight alongside his Mercedes squad, Ferrari and Red Bull.

The reigning Formula 1 world champion claimed McLaren’s last title of any kind with his maiden drivers’ crown back in 2008 but over the past decade the British squad has endured a tough run with its runner-up spots in the F1 world constructors’ championship in 2010 and 2011 representing its closest challenge to further glory.

After bringing an end to its nightmare three seasons with Honda as its power unit supplier, McLaren is eager to re-join the title fight thanks to its new deal with Renault with current driver Fernando Alonso predicting his team can fight for wins next year. The Renault-powered Red Bull squad secured three race wins in 2017 and 13 rostrums in total.

Hamilton, who will be hunting a fifth F1 world crown to move equal second with Juan Manuel Fangio on the most titles of all-time, believes both Ferrari and Red Bull be closer to Mercedes in 2018 due to the unchanged technical regulations while he also sees McLaren as a potential threat in the championship.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship,” Hamilton said. “I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again. We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

In a recent interview with Formula1.com, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the decision to ditch Honda and move to Renault engines was ultimately a “business decision” but admits he feared key technical staff leaving due to underwhelming results.

“In the end it was a business decision, which they [Honda] understand,” Boullier said. “Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top.”

source: crash.net