Mercedes’ engine chief has admitted to being “curious” to spot Honda’s progress of the winter period.
While Mercedes has utterly dominated the ‘power unit’ era, Honda notably struggled in 2015 and 2016 at the beginning of the works partnership with McLaren.
And Andy Cowell, who is the engine boss at Mercedes, agrees with those who think that engines will still be very important as the chassis and tyre regulations change for 2017.
“If you are on the gas for a longer period of time, the importance of the engine obviously increases,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
“But it is now the fourth year with this generation of engines and everyone has learned a lot. I am quite curious about what the other manufacturers and especially Honda have done,” said Cowell.
“They are now in their third year, they have established their development department and accumulated a lot of knowledge. I think that would be the time for a big, courageous step.”
Indeed, Honda and also Renault have admitted to making fundamental design changes for 2017, which could expose Mercedes to the risk of only being able to tweak its leading engine.
But Cowell said: “What we are doing feels quite aggressive. So we did not just sit back and make only small modifications. Compared to previous years, the changes are considerable.”