Honda says it remains 100 per cent committed to its Formula One partnership with McLaren despite news this week that the team has been exploring the possibility of a return to Mercedes power.
For the third year in a row, McLaren-Honda had a problematic start to pre-season testing after suffering reliability issues and discovering a significant power deficit to its rivals. The difficult start to the year has led to suggestions McLaren is looking to break its contract with the Japanese manufacturer, but Honda's F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa says his company remains committed to the project.
"Of course the situation we find ourselves in is not what we hoped for when we returned to Formula One, but we are still 100 per cent committed to our future in the sport and our relationship with McLaren," Hasegawa told Autosport. "We believe in this partnership as does McLaren, and in order to move forward it is important for us to work as one team and overcome the situation together.
"The priority is to maintain honest and open communication, and to continue strengthening all relationships between Honda and McLaren despite the difficulties we are facing. This is not a short-term project for us."
Hasegawa said Honda would bring reliability fixes to the car ahead of the opening race in Australia and is also hoping to address some of the drivability issues encountered during testing.
"Already while in Barcelona we were able to introduce some countermeasures and we proved the effectiveness of these during test two. In terms of performance, there is room for improvement with mapping before Melbourne in order to have better driveability.
"And at the same time we will continue to work on our development to generate more power from the PU."