Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai has rubbished reports that the Japanese manufacturer’s new Formula 1 V6 turbo engine is down on power and behind schedule, and is adamant they can match the Mercedes unit which has dominated the 2014 season.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Arai declared, “I have confidence that we will match Mercedes.”
And added, “I think that the two other engine suppliers will recover next season – I strongly believe that. And we will be there too.”
Reports that the Honda power unit is behind schedule were also denied, “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,” added Arai.
Radical rule changes which came into effect this season were the reason which enticed Honda back to Formula 1, Arai acknowleged “it definitely was one reason for Honda to come back into Formula One, but there was also the fact that the lap times compared to the old engines are very similar.”
“We are talking about a technology that is very advanced. You can match the speed of the old engines, but with much smarter and resource-saving technology,” he said.”
Honda will supply McLaren exclusively in 2015, but the door may be open to service other F1 teams from 2016 onwards.
“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,” confirmed Arai.
But added, “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.
As for Mercedes’ huge success during the first year of the new technology in Formula 1, Arai ventured, “I can imagine that Mercedes found the perfect balance between their chassis and their power unit and that the others didn’t find that balance.” (GP247)