As it emerges McLaren boss Eric Boullier met with Mercedes’ Andy Cowell in Shanghai, Honda was left to admit that the British team’s biggest problem is the power unit it is supplying.
But earlier in China, McLaren chief Zak Brown said McLaren was not setting Honda a deadline.
Honda F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa now says: “We cannot name the exact date for an updated and more powerful engine.
“But we try to make certain improvements before each grand prix — as was the case before this weekend,” said the Japanese.
“I’m not sure if the drivers agree with me, but we have made substantial progress since the beginning of the season in vibration, but of course the problem is not completely solved.”
However, Hasegawa said Honda is committed to keep improving in 2017, helped by F1’s abolishment of the former engine performance upgrade ‘token’ system.
“Yes it helps,” he said, “but when it is necessary to revise the layout of the engine, certain restrictions remain.”
Hasegawa also said Honda is supportive of the likely next generation of engines for 2021, even though their troublesome and complex ‘hybrid’ nature will remain.
“We want to keep engines of this type, because they are highly efficient and less damaging to the environment,” he said.