Newey: Honda could rise to the challenge


Honda could be the engine supplier to challenge Mercedes in the years to come, that's according to Adrian Newey.

Although Honda suffered a wretched first season back in Formula 1 with McLaren, scoring just 27 points in 2015 to finish P9 in the standings, Newey believes there is scope for them to improve.

However for now it is all Mercedes with the design guru stating that their works team has a massive advantage over the rest of the field as they get the latest spec engine.

Speaking to Abu Dhabi's The National, he said: "We are in this position where Mercedes have a very good, very powerful engine.

"Their customer teams don't get the same specifications. So it is difficult for their customer teams to beat the Mercedes team.

"Ferrari have an engine not quite as good as the Mercedes, but still a good engine. But the same problem with their customer teams.

"Honda and Renault, so far, have been quite a long way behind.

"So we are in the position where, at the moment, only a works Mercedes, and possibly a works Ferrari, win championships and races because it is so dominated by the engine.

"I think that is a very unhealthy situation for Formula One, where only one, maybe two teams, can win. Maybe Honda in the future, but not yet."

The Red Bull designer also threw his support behind introducing a cheaper customer engine.

Last year, following Ferrari's veto of a maximum price on engines, motorsport's governing body proposed introducing a budget engine for F1's smaller teams.

Asked for his suggestions on how to make F1 more competitive, Newey said: "The actual physical engine has to be the same, the ones supplied to the customer teams. But it's not just the physical hardware, it's also the petrol and the software. So the first thing you can do is to change the regulations so that customer teams have the same software and the same fuel, if they wish to, as the works team.

"The second problem – how do you then maybe get new people in, Audi perhaps, is a more complicated one. The cost now to compete for the manufacturers in F1 now is huge, well over €200 million a year. Probably nearer €300m. So it’s huge.

"An alternative which is being proposed by the FIA is that there should be a different engine, an FIA engine, that the small teams can use, an engine that will be competitive. I think that will be a very good solution. But the manufacturers don’t want it, so it’s a battle."