Spanish GP: McLaren to use upgraded Renault F1 engine at Barcelona

McLaren has decided to follow the Renault works team in running the manufacturer's upgraded Formula 1 engine at the Spanish Grand Prix

Spanish GP: McLaren to use upgraded Renault F1 engine at Barcelona

Renault has introduced a development step on its internal combustion engine that is aimed at boosting performance as well as improving reliability.

One of the big advantages of the new engine specification is that it can run in higher power modes for longer than the older version, which had to be wound down to ensure it did not hit trouble.

Daniel Ricciardo said the increased confidence over reliability should allow Renault-powered drivers to push harder.

"It's mainly for reliability, basically," said Ricciardo, when asked by Autosport about the upgrade.

"Some materials, I know what but I don't know how much I can say, have changed to help reliability.

"For now that's the target, but if we see it's viable then we can start pushing the power curve and other things people do in qualifying."

Renault has worked flat out to get its new engine ready for this weekend, and faced a last-minute push to get four versions of it ready for both its works team and McLaren.

Ricciardo used the new internal combustion engine and a fresh turbocharger and MGU-H in opening practice at Barcelona, where Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari's upgraded V6 its debut as well.

However, neither McLaren or the other works car of Nico Hulkenberg had the upgraded Renault engine in FP1, although Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris did have new control electronics.

The McLarens and Hulkenberg are expected to introduce the upgraded engine on Saturday.

The change moves Sainz onto his third engine of the year, which means a grid penalty later on in the season is now inevitable.

As well as using the new Renault engine, McLaren has also introduced a significant car update for Barcelona, which it hopes will allow it to build on its encouraging start to the season that has left it fourth in the constructors' championship.

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