Former F1 driver Roberto Merhi thinks McLaren’s engine supplier is making more progress than the British team so far in 2016.
Honda had a woeful return to F1 last year but Spaniard Merhi, who raced last season for Manor, said he has been impressed with the steps forward taken in 2016.
“In my opinion, Honda is progressing faster than expected,” he told the Spanish sports daily Marca.
“In Monaco, where engine power does not play such an important role, it seemed to be that McLaren is inferior to the leaders in the effectiveness of the chassis,” Merhi added.
In Canada, Honda is pushing forward with a new turbo specification, allied with new fuel from McLaren partner ExxonMobil that brings a further 0.1 second boost.
“The new turbo should allow us to use the energy more efficiently,” Fernando Alonso confirmed. “It is not about raw performance but in certain race situations it is important that we can release more energy.
“That will also reduce our fuel consumption,” the Spaniard added.
In the past few days, comments attributed to Alonso have suggested he is only committing to F1 and the team until the end of his current contract next year.
“With McLaren I am in the right team,” he insisted in Montreal, “the only question is whether I am in the right team at the right moment.”
Alonso said he is definitely staying next year, though, which is more than can be said for teammate Jenson Button who is linked with a potential move to Williams.
When asked on BBC radio if he is enjoying F1 and will still be there in 2017, Button answered: “At this moment in time, I am loving it. The second part of your question, I can’t answer.”