Fernando Alonso says Red Bull’s standout performances this season with the Renault power unit ‘puts some pressure on McLaren’ in order to get its chassis up to speed for next year.

McLaren confirmed it would switch to Renault engines from 2018 to end a painful three-year stint with Honda, which is believed to be central in potentially securing the two-time Formula 1 world champion at the Woking-based team for 2019, while Alonso continues to stall on a contract for next year.

The Spanish driver says Red Bull’s results in 2017 with Renault power is demonstrating that with a superior chassis and aerodynamic package it can challenge for race wins after Max Verstappen stormed to victory in Malaysia last weekend.

Alonso says the emphasis is now firmly placed on McLaren to provide a fast chassis package to couple with the Renault engine in order to challenge, and beat, the Milton Keynes-based squad.

“We saw in Monza a very good performance from Red Bull, which was at a power circuit, so we were already quite happy with that Red Bull performance,” Alonso said. “In Malaysia it was another step forward and they beat the Mercedes without rain, without any different strategy, without anything, so that was good.

“At the same time that puts some pressure on McLaren because I think that car is quite efficient right now and is quite powerful at the moment from a chassis point of view.

“We need to make sure that we do our job on the chassis side because the engine can deliver wins as Red Bull proved. So we have to match that performance on the chassis and that is a challenge.”

After Verstappen’s win at the Sepang International Circuit, Red Bull motorsport chief Dr Helmut Marko claimed the team’s chassis is the strongest package on the 2017 grid which is something McLaren has been keen to stress as its key strength during its struggles with Honda in recent years.


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