Honda concerned over rivals' progress
5 December 2013 – Honda has admitted that the progress other engine manufacturers make during the 2014 Formula 1 campaign could put it in a weaker position when it returns to the sport the following year.
Back in May, the Japanese brand announced that it will be supplying engines for McLaren from 2015, having been lured back by next year's regulation overhaul – spearheaded by turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 powerplants.
But with zero track time next season, Honda's Chief Officer of Motorsports, Yasuhisa Arai, holds fears that its rivals could be a step ahead by the time the company returns to the grid.
"There are both advantages and disadvantages of participating from 2014," said Arai in an interview with the FIA's Auto magazine. "Many things will happen during the F1 season, and we are in a fortunate situation to be able to observe what will happen.
"However, as we are only able to observe, we cannot physically be at the track to see the problems. Other teams can improve on their problems and progress as the race goes on.
"How they will progress will be a mystery to us and our engineers must rely on our imaginations."
Arai is confident, however, that the partnership will be a success, referring to the 1988 season during which McLaren and Honda together won all bar one race.
"We have had a great history together – 15 wins out of 16 races in 1988," he said. "But more important is the mutual respect we have for each other's work ethic and processes.
"We have the same mentality or feel when we pursue victory and that is very important."