Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa believes the Japanese manufacturer are getting “very close” to matching Renault in terms of engine power.
Honda have always been cut adrift from the rest of the engine suppliers but, after introducing their ‘3.5 spec’ engine at Spa, Hasegawa is encouraged that they are now heading in the right direction.
“From the beginning of the season, we have been improving the power unit – not only in terms of performance but also reliability,” Hasegawa told Autosport.
“Since we introduced spec 3.5 engine, I think that level of performance is very close to the Renault. I cannot say it’s better than Renault but the important thing is the reliability is much better.”
Hasegawa was then asked whether he felt to the gap to others was now the closest he has seen, he replied: “Yes, I think so. We’re not close enough, but the gap is very small compared to last year and the first year.”
Honda are now planning on using their current engine spec as the framework for next season, as opposed to a complete overhaul which has been the approach in seasons past.
“There is no doubt in this current concept,” Hasegawa added. “We’re choosing a very similar concept to Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes.
“There is no reason we can’t achieve the same level of performance with the current concept.”
Honda will take their power units to Toro Rosso next season, with McLaren opting for Renault power.