Fernando Alonso thinks Honda can be targeting Mercedes for 2017.
The works McLaren-Honda project struggled in 2015 but has made big strides forwards this year.
And according to media reports, the Japanese manufacturer is planning an even bigger step for 2017.
“I am very optimistic about the engine for next year,” Alonso told Spanish reporters in Singapore. “I think we can be up to Mercedes, and I am sure that Renault and Ferrari will also do a good job to make everything more interesting.
“I do expect a big step forward, everyone is hoping to keep up with Mercedes, although it may be a very optimistic goal.
“But in Belgium we saw that we had improved and could be in the battle, and in 2017 I expect a major improvement. Having a great engine is something that gives everyone an extra motivation,” he added.
Alonso has even spoken about the possibility of race wins, and said that if and when it happens it will be one of the best feelings in his successful career.
“Yes, the first win with this project will be a great thing,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll have that opportunity, or Stoffel (Vandoorne), but when that day comes it will be something great for all who have participated in this project from day one.”