Stefan Johansson has tipped his former team McLaren to make a “big leap” in 2016.
And the 59-year-old Swede, who raced for the British team in 1987 just before its first and ultra-successful Honda era began, is not alone in thinking McLaren-Honda is now capable of putting its troubles of 2015 quickly in the past.
For example, Fernando Alonso thinks a 2.5 second per lap boost is possible for 2016, and even rival Red Bull’s Adrian Newey said last week that he expects Honda to easily sort its engine problems over the winter.
On his blog, Johansson agreed: “Yes, I think they will make a big leap next year.
“Their performance has been so bad in 2015 that it’s not going to be difficult for them to make a pretty giant gain. With their combined resources I am sure they will bypass a number of teams to get back to being one of the top five teams easily,” he added.
As for how long it will take to turn a major boost in 2016 into actual winning success, however, Johansson is less certain.
“I think they’ll be regular points-scorers next year but then of course the closer you get to the front, the harder it gets to be a regular winner like they used to be,” he said.