Carlos Sainz has felt a change for the better this season from Renault’s power unit, believing his new McLaren team now has something to “fight with”.

Sainz has raced for three teams in the last three season but the common denominator has been the Renault engine, a fact that puts the Spaniard in a good position to judge the French unit’s progress over the past 36 months.

“I feel a change, yes,” said Mclaren’s new recruit. “I feel a step forward, a step in the right direction.

“I still think we are a bit behind the Ferrari and Mercedes engines, but it definitely feels like we have something to fight with now.

“I’ve done four years in Formula 1, those four years have been 10km/h down on all the straights so finally be to turning up to Melbourne and being just two or three km/h down on the top teams is a really, really encouraging scenario.

“They seem to have clear ideas of how to develop the engine through the year.

“I would praise Renault in that sense because finally it seems they’ve done the step they were needing two years ago.”

Ironically, Sainz early demise in the Australian Grand Prix was caused by an MGU-k failure on his Renault unit.

Works driver Nico Hulkenberg was onboard the only Renault-powered car that finished in the points in Melbourne.

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