Yasuhisa Arai, Honda‘s Motorsport chief, believes that their engine’s current output is 25 HP clear of Renault, yet 40 to 50 HP behind Mercedes.
As for Ferrari, their target in terms of power output, well it looks like things aren’t going exactly as planned. Arai was recently quoted as saying “We haven’t caught up to Ferrari yet in terms of the ICE [internal combustion engine],” but that he feels they’re about 30 HP shy of the Scuderia.
When asked about the other two manufacturers, Arai said that Honda is currently “40-50[hp] behind Mercedes but about 25 ahead of Renault. Our engine is a little bit behind Ferrari but much better than the Renault team. Mercedes are still so far away. But I have confidence that the second half of the season, we will try hard to catch the top two teams.”
Whether or not those numbers are true, we can’t know for sure. What we do know is that Renault-power cars were a lot more successful at Spa than any of the McLarens.
Race result aside, McLaren’s fastest lap during qualifying was Jenson Button’s at 1:50.978, which was still a full second short of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. How do you manage that if you’ve got 25 HP more than him?
Perhaps the nature of Spa can shine a light on this matter since it combines long “straights” with high-speed corners, which is where Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s superior chassis might have helped.
The thing is, McLaren were pretty confident in their setup as well, but according to them, they expect to have their best race in Singapore, which consists of low-speed corners mostly and short straights.
Arai also said that next year, Honda will be working hard to improve McLaren’s current package, instead of pushing for a bigger aerodynamic concept.
They definitely can’t afford to struggle in 2016.
Story references: autosport