Honda can match Mercedes, Arai reaffirms
1 September 2014 – Honda's motorsport chief, Yasuhisa Arai, has reiterated his belief that the Japanese brand will be able to match current power unit pace-setters Mercedes when it returns to Formula 1 next season.
Honda, last involved in the sport as a works team in 2008, has been quietly ramping up preparations for its comeback as McLaren's engine supplier, reigniting a partnership that previously ran between 1988 and 1992.
"I have confidence that we will match Mercedes," said Arai in an interview with the official Formula 1 website.
Arai also moved to dispel fears that Honda could endure the same struggles as rivals Renault and Ferrari.
"I can imagine that Mercedes found the perfect balance between their chassis and power unit and that the others didn't find that balance," he said. "We work together with McLaren as one team – this is the only way to go.
"I think that the two other suppliers will recover next season – I strongly believe that. And we will be there too."
When asked about Honda's schedule, Arai said: "We are absolutely within our development plan. Our engine – or more precisely our power unit – is ready for a whole system check, but without the chassis. It will still need more time to bring the power unit and chassis together and then be able to run checks with the complete car."
Arai added that instead of any running later this year, Honda is likely to test its unit in the back of a McLaren for the first time at the opening pre-season gathering of 2015, expected to take place at the Circuito de Jerez.