Honda has suggested that only a change of its power unit layout for next year will allow it to address now obvious shortcomings in its performance.
While the Japanese manufacturer stands firm that its internal combustion engine is delivering similar power figures to Renault, it is now clear that its energy recovery systems are far behind.
Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai, who faced an intense media grilling about his company's ongoing struggles on Saturday, admitted that deploying recovered energy was its weakness.
“Unfortunately less deployment on the straight-line is the reason the speed is not so good,” he said.
New layout planned
It is understood that solutions to the energy recovery deficit will need a rethink of certain key components – which are believed to include the compressor.
Such changes cannot be made during the campaign because of the tight engine homologation regulations.
Arai said therefore that progress would be limited this year, even with development tokens left to use, but suggested that bigger changes for 2016 were already being prepared.
“We already found what is the weak point for the power unit, so we have already started work on next season development,” he explained.
When asked if token use this year would help at all, he explained: “Right now I cannot say anything about future tokens in this season. But the weak point is the deployment.
“It is very difficult because of a layout issue. Of course, we want to change that for next year but first we want to get a small number of gains of the deployment every race.”
Arai feeling the pressure
Arai declined to respond to questions about whether he should resign on the back of Honda's ongoing struggles, as he insisted that his project was heading the right way.
“We are in a good direction, but the results are not so good,” he said. “I hope we do our best for the rest of the season. We want to use our tokens for the next few races.”
He added: “We do many efforts to get more horsepower and also more control for both champion drivers, but unfortunately not only the horsepower but also deployment for the MGU-K.
"This circuit is very difficult for our power unit because the MGU-K is 120kw, but MGU-H is applied more time on the straight, so it is very difficult for us.”