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Honda preps for first simulations, expresses confidence it can match Mercedes

Sep 1, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

Remember the Honda MP4-4 that won five consecutive Formula 1 championships from 1987-1991? Here's one of the cars the late Ayrton Senna drove to one of three Honda-powered titles. AP

With the final portion of the Formula One season still to come, Honda is flat out in preparing for its first simulation in the next couple weeks.

The engine manufacturer returns to the scene in 2015 with McLaren.¬†While the driver speculation is running rampant about whether Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will stay, the discussion on Honda hasn’t been as frequent.

In a wide-ranging interview with the official Formula One website,¬†Honda’s motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai discussed their progress, and didn’t hold back when he said where they could be in the pecking order.

“I have confidence that we will match Mercedes,” he said, via Formula1.com.

“In the next couple of weeks we will run simulations and at the beginning of next year we will start to run on the track – very likely at Jerez. That will very likely be the first time to show the whole car, the Honda engine and the McLaren chassis – the Honda McLaren.”

He also spoke of the possibility of having customer teams in 2016.

“Yes, in 2015 we don’t have the plan to supply any team other than McLaren. In 2016 or after, if some teams or partners ask us to supply them too, we will take a look at that situation. But even in 2016 McLaren will be our main partner in F1.

“And even if we supply other teams from 2016 onwards our main focus will always be to win – to make the engine better through more data – and not necessarily to look at a return on investment. If you win that comes automatically.”

  1. zydecobro - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Honda will be the new champions on the block no doubt..the new engine rules help
    with that..Honda can make a lot of hp in such a small displacement and make it reliable..and if Benz doesnt get their two spoiled brat drivers straight then they are definitely going to have some problems next season..

  2. worknman24hours - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I doubt that Honda will be in a position to beat Mercedes right off the bat.

    McLaren still needs to get it’s team management situation set right.

    Plus the driver situation is still uncertain as well.

    Ron Dennis can’t run everything and the F1 team too because the McLaren corporation is getting huge now and needs him everywhere..

    I hope they get some really top notch people on the F1 team that can bring Honda and McLaren new consistent pace ,reliability and victories.

  3. indycarseries500 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    In that junk McLaren car, they need to exceed Mercedes.

  4. shotgunzoom - Sep 1, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Yep, McLaren has to get their house in order first. Talking about beating MB without having a settled drivers lineup for ’15 is more than a little presumptuous. There are other teams on the grid who are also chasing MB. McLaren is a big company who will no doubt get back to winning ways. However, Ferrari, Williams and Redbull all have their teams settled; their power units and chassis have a year together.

    I’m glad that they are confident, but hype doesn’t win you anything, just ask Jerry Jones and the Cowboys

  5. techmeister1 - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I’m surprised to see Honda making such confidence statements this early on.

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