We all know McLaren’s recent performances have been let down by the Honda power unit but racing director Eric Boullier believes the team would’ve won races in 2016 with the best engine.
Honda made a return to Formula 1 in 2015 for the first time since pulling the plug on its works team at the end of 2008.
This time as an engine supplier for McLaren, it was a tough first season back in F1, with reliability problems aplenty and a lack of power compared to rivals.
Despite making big strides in 2016, Honda continued to lag behind the rest while Mercedes retained having the best engine.
Results were better for McLaren this year, finishing sixth in the standings and a best result of fifth at the Monaco GP.
But, Boullier believes the top step of the podium could’ve been achievable with the best power unit. Here’s what he told Autosport:
“If we had the best engine this year, we would have won races. We know, the GPS traces tell us. There is room for improvement everywhere with Honda. It also drives your chassis development. Everything is connected.
“You can’t make a car too draggy if you don’t have enough power deployment because you lose time. You have to balance all the time. We work as one team with Honda to achieve what we want.
“The gap has closed. But to get where Mercedes is, you can’t just copy and paste. There is a way you have to go through.
“You can’t do it in three months or six months but in a few years. It took Renault time [to make engine gains] and still today, they are not on top of the game. They started to develop this engine six years ago.”