McLaren supremo Ron Dennis has admitted he definitely expected the McLaren-Honda partnership to be performing better than it is at the mid-season point of 2015.
“We had every reason to think that we would be in a better situation than the one we find ourselves in,” the Woking team’s supremo explained in the latest edition of Autosprint, an Italian specialist magazine.
But Dennis insists that switching from Mercedes, the field-leading ‘power unit’ makers, to the struggling Honda camp was the right choice for the future.
“Our goal is to win the world championship,” he said, “and that objective would not be within our reach if we continued with a customer engine.
“Today we are not at the level we want to be, but I am certain we will get there sooner than people think,” added Dennis.
However, although the dominance of the McLaren-Honda of the 80s is fabled, the Japanese carmaker’s more recent F1 foray was considered a failure.
But Dennis says it would be wrong to suppose that 2015 so far is an indication that Honda will once again fail to conquer F1 in the modern era.
“Even Mercedes took time to make their current team competitive,” he insisted. “And at the beginning of our collaboration with Mercedes, things were not easy. We are facing a similar challenge now.”
Dennis said the team must go through the difficulties of this current period, because being a ‘customer’ of Mercedes or Ferrari is no route to success.
“Look at qualifying at Silverstone,” he said. “The factory team was almost a second faster than Williams. With a customer engine, you will never be able to close that gap.”
“These engines are so complex that the systems must be in absolute harmony with the chassis. It requires a total commitment on the part of the suppliers and technical partners.
“That’s why I preferred the road with Honda. Because even though it will take some time, it is the best possibility for McLaren to return to the top. It’s just going to take a little more time than we would have liked,” admitted Dennis.