Honda impressed Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell in 2019, and he believes they’re “way ahead” of Ferrari when it comes to development.
The Japanese manufacturer began to supply engines for Red Bull last season and proved to be an improvement on Renault in terms of both pace and reliability.
The Ferrari engine provided the most straight-line speed, but Honda showed they were making strides in that department too when Pierre Gasly effectively out-dragged the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in Brazil.
“Honda are the best improvers this year, they’re way ahead of Ferrari in terms of development rate,” Cowell told Motorsport Magazine.
“Red Bull can make championship-winning cars, Max Verstappen is formidable and Honda… their investment in what they’re doing is huge and their determination is huge.
“And that’s showing on track, and you can see that the structure and sound decision-making being done. It’s going to be exciting.”
Cowell is disappointed that Liberty failed to make large changes to engine regulations for 2021, but he’s still positive about the overall direction in that department.
“As an engineer that likes to be creative, likes new challenges, likes to be in the mire of a new challenge, fighting his way out, then yes, I wish there was more change,” he admitted.
“But I think Formula 1 is moving in the absolutely right direction, and I think the V6 and ERS power unit that we introduced in ’14 is now absolutely the right power unit.
“And I think it’s good that the four manufacturers just iterate more and more. Let’s have a close battle with the same set of regulations, I’m up for that.”