Honda motorsport chief Yusuke Hasegawa reveals that the Japanese manufacturer for McLaren has a separate working group concerning next year's power unit.
"We have a completely separate team from the start of this year concentrating on next year's engine," said Hasegawa.
"We still have this year's team and of course we are exchanging information with each other. Then the resource is moving to next year's engine team."
While a number of F1 teams have already focused entirely on 2017, Honda has brought a 7-token-worthy engine update for Spa and further updates are expected for the remainder of 2016. At Singapore, Honda is set to fully unlock the current specification’s potential, which can be maximised with the remaining developmental tokens.
"We have three tokens left, still seven races and one more engine needed," said Hasegawa. We have one more chance to introduce one more spec up. So far we plan to introduce it for [combustion engine] power."
The last engine version could debut either in Japan or in Austin, exclusively depending on performance and reliability.
Closing the gap in terms of horsepower has been the primary target for Honda, and the abolition of the token system might represent a massive chance for McLaren-Honda to catch up in the field through a sizeable leap.
When asked when he expected Honda to be able to bridge the gap, Hasegawa said: "Next yea we are aiming to catch up them but still we need more hard work."
by Beatrice Zamuner