Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai says he is confident the engine manufacturer will match Mercedes when it returns to the sport next season.
Mercedes has been the dominant power unit under the new F1 regulations this year, with the works team winning all but three of this year's races so far. Honda will return as engine supplier to McLaren in 2015, and Arai is not concerned by the level of performance shown by Mercedes this season.
“I have confidence that we will match Mercedes,” Arai told the official Formula One website. “I think that the two other engine suppliers will recover next season - I strongly believe that. And we will be there too.”
And Arai also confirmed that the first time the McLaren-Honda will run on track will be at the first pre-season test in Jerez, despite there being two days of testing in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year.
“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.
“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.
“Right now there are no plans to collect data during the rest of 2014. Jerez will be the first time.”