Switch from Honda to Renault power is raising expectation for the team.
Former F1 world champion Nigel Mansell believes McLaren will find it 'tough' to go up against Red Bull and the works Renault team with the same engines in 2018.
The team has had a miserable few years with Honda power, scoring only minimal points and threatened with the loss of star driver Fernando Alonso. The pressure is on now that the Woking-based team has found a more powerful engine to put in the back of its car, but Mansell thinks the outfit will find it tough up against strong teams using the same engine.
Mansell, speaking in an interview with Motorsport.tv at the Autosport International show in Birmingham's NEC, said he hoped Renault would be fair in its supply and does not favour one team over the others. He also touched on the difficulty of not having a bespoke supply of engines from a manufacturer, which is ironically what the team had with Honda in the first place.
'It's going to be tough, but hopefully they will be able to get very close and hopefully Renault will be very fair with the supplying of engines,' said Mansell. Obviously, Mercedes don't want to supply them because they don't want them as competitors. The hardest thing in F1 is to get a level playing field.
'We need a better level playing field, we need 26 cars on the grid and we need not to be able to spend fortunes to try and bend the regulations.'
You can see the interview in the video below. Watch Mansell reflect with Peter Windsor on his rivalry with Ayrton Senna, the spectacle of Autosport International and his golfing prowess.
Want to see more from Motor1.com at Autosport International? Check out the interviews from our stand and our video guide to the cars on display.