McLaren pleased with early signs from Renault engine relationship

McLaren have given an early thumbs-up to their new relationship with Renault as the pairing made its official debut in Barcelona testing.

Although McLaren endured a dramatic start to Day One when a wheel nut failure pitched Alonso into the gravel at the high-speed final turn, the new MCL33 ran reliably thereafter and showed flashes of promising speed.

The Woking team endured a torrid three-year marriage to Honda with many of the union’s tensest moments coming during often-fruitless weeks of testing.

Alonso loses wheel – and time – in early setback

But asked how the early stages of their 2018 engine partnership were going, Zak Brown told reporters: “Everything’s going very well.

“We have a close working relationship and everyone has worked very hard in the off-season. We’re enjoying working with them and they’re enjoying working with us.

“So far everything is very good.”

Sky F1’s Rachel Brookes rounds up all of the 2018 cars as we get to see them on track for the first time.

Racing director Eric Boullier, who was boss at the Renault-engined Lotus team in 2010-13, also described early progress as “so far, so good”.

Watch the latest updates from Barcelona

However, he stressed McLaren were not yet looking too far ahead and were focused on understanding the MCL33.

“I’m expecting a lot [this season], but we will not draw any expectations now,” he said. “We have to understand first where we are.

“We need to need to assess our car and feed back to Woking to see what correlates with that has been simulated.”

The Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk for all days of winter testing while Sky Sports News will also deliver live updates from trackside.