Honda’s motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai is confident that the Japanese manufacturer’s 2015 V6 Turbo power-unit will be able to match current pace-setters Mercedes.
Following six years away from F1, Honda will rekindle its iconic partnership with McLaren next season and has been increasing preparations for its comeback over the last few months.
The Mercedes power-unit has been the strongest on the grid. However, Arai believes it is possible for Honda to have a similarly successful start.
“I have confidence that we will match Mercedes,” he said in an interview with the official Formula 1 website.
Commenting on Honda’s schedule, he explained: “We are absolutely within our development plan. Our engine – or more precisely our power unit – is ready for a whole system check, but without the chassis.
“It will still need more time to bring the power unit and chassis together and then be able to run checks with the complete car.
“In the next couple of weeks we will run simulations and at the beginning of next year we will start to run on the track – very likely at Jerez.
“That will very likely be the first time to show the whole car, the Honda engine and the McLaren chassis – the Honda McLaren.”
However, Arai added that Honda has no plans to complete any on-track running of its V6 Turbo power-unit this season.
McLaren will be Honda’s exclusive partner in 2015. When asked about beyond that, he replied: “Yes, in 2015 we don’t have the plan to supply any team other than McLaren. In 2016 or after, if some teams or partners ask us to supply them too, we will take a look at that situation.
“But even in 2016 McLaren will be our main partner in F1. And even if we supply other teams from 2016 onwards our main focus will always be to win – to make the engine better through more data – and not necessarily to look at a return on investment. If you win that comes automatically.”
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes