Yasuhisa Arai says the Belgian Grand Prix represents an opportunity to 'learn a lot' as Honda prepares to bring its much anticipated engine update to the track, even if he admits the McLaren team is likely to face penalties in the meantime.
The Japanese firm has been working hard over the summer break to update its much maligned power unit, spending a number of its available tokens in an effort to improve the competiveness of the McLaren MP4-30.
However, though the team has high hopes in its developments, Arai concedes the characteristics of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit won't necessarily suit the car at this stage, adding that penalties can be expected as it prepares to run the unit for the first time this weekend.
"As we planned, Honda has updated our combustion characteristics to further improve our power units for Spa and the second half of the season.
“This weekend's free practices will be important to test the pairing of the power units to the cars. The Belgian race, however, will surely be a difficult one for the team and drivers, with expected grid penalties and a long and unforgiving power circuit.
"Nevertheless, McLaren-Honda's focus is to improve race by race. We know we can learn a lot from the circuit for immediate future, and hope that we can come out of the weekend with some positives."
McLaren-Honda comes to Belgium having scored a season's best finish ahead of the summer break in Hungary, Fernando Alonso finishing fifth and Jenson Button claiming ninth.