Fernando Alonso is confident Honda will be able to make big performance gains relative to other engine manufacturers over the winter by copying some of the concepts of its rivals.
Honda's main weak points this year have been its turbo charger and the amount of energy its MGU-H can recover and deploy as a power boost. The Japanese manufacturer has not been able to address its shortcomings this season, but has a development plan underway to make changes ahead of the start of 2016.
Ferrari made a big gain this year after addressing the efficiency of its MGU-H during the close season and Alonso believes Honda can do the same, thereby gaining an instant performance boost while its rivals chase trickier performance gains.
"I think the lack of performance in some of the areas of the car are quite fundamental issues that should not have too difficult an answer or solution," he said. "We just need to copy some of the direction that everyone has apart from us. In some time we feel that we will recover with not much penalty, because the others already have it in the package. Some of the performance gain we expect we can get for free, but it's also true that all the competitors are working very hard for the winter and will recover a couple of seconds as well, so we need to make up extra time.
"But we feel optimistic and confident that next year we will be very competitive. We are realistic at the same time and we understand that in Formula One there are not magic things from one year being out of Q1 to next year fighting for the championship -- that's a very optimistic target, but we will try our best.
Alonso said McLaren took extra motivation from its performance at Austin, where the two cars were running as high as fifth and sixth in the race before Alonso suffered an temporary engine issue.
"I think the team is doing a good job and everyone is pushing to improve the situation," he said. "All the new parts that we bring to the race seem to deliver what we expect from them, so definitely there is a very nice direction for the team this year. It has been tough, it has been frustrating at time, but we kept united and moving in one direction and one team and I think for next year they are putting some solutions to the problems we had this year in place for next year.
"I have enjoyed racing and when the circuit has suited a bit our car there is extra motivation and we have pushed a little bit harder. It was the case in Austin when we felt more competitive all weekend and in the race as well it was probably the best race of the year for me and the first 20 laps, nine of them were quicker than Lewis. This didn't happen for the last two years and half, so this was very good news and I definitely enjoyed the race, but with zero points due to an issue in the last ten laps. It was definitely a different feeling compared to the rest of the year."