Honda returned to F1 this season with much expected of the association, but, hugely off the pace since the start of winter testing and recorded McLaren’s worst season since 1980.
McLaren-Honda has been unable to fix main problems with its Energy Recovery System (ERS) during the season; they are set just 27 points and one race remaining, now in ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Arai insists the relationship between both parties has never been better going into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“So much has happened since McLaren-Honda’s new beginnings here in Abu Dhabi last year,” he said.
“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.”
The Spaniard Fernando Alonso has said Honda’s facts will be not easy to copy once the manufacturer gets to the bottom of its trouble, and has maintained his faith the McLaren-Honda partnership is the only one which can beat Mercedes in the next few seasons.
Team Principal Eric Boullier says this mindset is why McLaren is refusing to ease off for the final race of 2015.
“Although it is the last race of the season, our development has not stopped, and we are still bringing new parts and design elements to the car for the final grand prix,” Boullier said.
“Our development is constant and we place huge importance on learning at every opportunity. All of our efforts this weekend will be beneficial to next year’s car, and it’s essential that we maximise the final sessions of the year, not only to end the season on a high, but to use the invaluable information we can glean from them and channel it into tangible progress over the winter period.”