Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai says he is unwilling to allow 'outside personnel' advise on engine development as it wants to 'nurture manpower' within what he admits is a relatively new staff base.

The Japanese firm returned to F1 as an engine supplier last year as part of a collaboration with McLaren, but endured a dismal 2015 campaign as the V6 hybrid power unit proved both woefully underpowered and unreliable.

Prompting McLaren to suffer its worst F1 season since 1980, Honda heads into 2016 confident it has made substantial gains on its rivals, even if it was forced to play down media reports of a huge hike in power that would bring it more into line with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

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Regardless, Honda has persevered with a culture of developing new staff from within, with Arai saying he turned down McLaren's request to bring in outside help for a long-term purpose.

"We thoroughly discuss problems [with McLaren] until we see eye to eye," he told the Japanese Nikkei newspaper. "Sometime around last summer, they asked if we had sufficient [development] resources and wanted to know why we were doing things exclusively on our own. They also asked us to use outside personnel, which from their perspective is natural given the high job mobility in Europe.

"But we explained that Honda has a different philosophy. It's important to nurture manpower. It isn't acceptable to us to have an outside engineer stay for just three months or half a year."

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the 2015 season, Arai admits a lack of 'match sharpness' left the manufacturer ill-equipped to deal with the constant issues that would arise.

"Up until the Spanish Grand Prix in May, it was like playing whack-a-mole. As soon as we resolved one problem, another popped up. We felt the effects of our seven-year absence from racing. Although we recognised [technological troubles], we failed to quickly pinpoint the causes, come up with measures to resolve them and make the necessary adjustments

"Though we don't disclose the number of people involved in our F1 team, about half of them are new to the field. We were suffering from what athletes call a 'lack of match sharpness.'"