Honda’s research and development head Yasuhisa Arai says the engine manufacturer’s target for its return to Formula One is to get on terms with Mercedes, who have set the standard with F1’s new V6 hybrid turbo power trains.
“Our target is very clear,” said Arai during today’s FIA press conference at Suzuka. “This season, the Mercedes is top of top so next season we shall achieve that same competition or power. Everyone understands that and wants to exceed that power. Lots of work.”
Arai expects to have a test car running with a Honda engine after the end of the current season and said he is “not concerned” they will only have data from a single team to work on.
“Our partner is very strong and I think one of the best teams,” he said. “Of course that means just one team’s data, but maybe that’s enough, I think.”
“So we already discussed with our partner and set a target and already we have agreed whether the target is good or not. Then finally, maybe in March 2015 we will be in a good position.”
According to Arai, Honda has not seen expressions of interest from customer teams about a future engine supply because the potential of their power unit is currently unknown.
However he did offer a view on the debate surrounding whether F1’s engine development restrictions should be relaxed.
“From the engineers and many fans, they and we want to keep the competition,” he said, “so in a season, to develop the many parts and to keep the competition is very important, just from engineering and fans’ side”.
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