Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai insists the working relationship between the Japanese firm and McLaren has never been stronger as the two parties look ahead to 2016 after a difficult 2015 campaign.

Honda's return to F1 has been beset by persistent issues with the reliability and performance, with McLaren set to end the 2015 season ninth in the constructors' standings - its worst result in F1 since 1980.

With the Honda power unit coming in for particular criticism, most notably Fernando Alonso famously likening it to a GP2 engine, the manufacturer has vowed to make significant improvements over the winter having been prevented from making substantial changes in-season.

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Indeed, despite rumours of discord within the team, ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Arai insists McLaren and Honda's 'bond' is stronger than ever as they seek to overcome the deficit to rivals.

"So much has happened since McLaren-Honda's new beginnings here in Abu Dhabi last year. We have come a long way since that first test, and although we have had a difficult and eventful season in 2015, the team is as united as ever.

"The amount of changes that have gone into both the car and the power units this year with such speed has been incredible. Both Woking and Sakura have been working tirelessly throughout the year, and together with the drivers, their bond has become stronger as the season progressed. I am thankful for all their hard work, and encouraged by their enthusiasm to improve further over the winter."