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Honda confident of matching Mercedes in 2015

ESPN Staff
September 1, 2014 « Monza important for Singapore momentum - Grosjean | Kvyat honoured by Sochi circuit »
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Honda thinks it will have no problem immediately challenging pace-setters Mercedes in 2015 despite debuting its V6 turbo engine a year after its rivals.

Next season Honda returns to F1 after quitting the sport in 2008, with McLaren its sole team for at least its first season. Renault and Ferrari both had a slow start to life in the V6 turbo era but motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai does not think Honda will suffer in a similar fashion.

"I have confidence that we will match Mercedes," Arai told the official F1 website. "I think that the two other engine suppliers will recover next season - I strongly believe that. And we will be there too.

"You can only make conclusions [about 2014] when you have all the different data on the table. I can imagine that Mercedes found the perfect balance between their chassis and their power unit and that the others didn't find that balance. So we work together with McLaren as one team - because this is the only way to go."

Arai says Honda is open to supplying teams other than McLaren after its exclusive deal ends next year, though the Woking-based team will continue to be the focus of its F1 attention.

"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."

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