CAR WOES CONTINUE: Despite McLaren-Honda's poor performance in 2015, the team believes it's improving. Image: AP / Geert Vanden Wijngaert
Milan, Italy - Honda heads into yet another race weekend with mixed messages.
As McLaren's struggling Japanese supplier debuted an upgraded engine in Belgium, boss Yasuhisa Arai said it would be a match for Ferrari's power unit.
Spa-Francorchamps turned out to be one of McLaren-Honda's worst performances of the season.
Officially, Honda is heading into another high-speed venue, Monza, with low expectations.
Arai said in a media statement: "Monza is another high-speed track which unfortunately does not suit our package.
"The drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap due to the long straights and fast corners, and since maximum power and minimal drag are key we know we have a big challenge ahead of us this weekend."
The comment about 'minimal drag' is key, with McLaren and Honda now increasingly pointing the finger at the other for the reasons for the dire 2015.
In media reports, Arai has been quoted as suggesting Honda's power unit is no longer the worst in pitslane.
He is quoted by Spain's El Confidencial: "Our engine is a bit behind Ferrari but it is much better than Renault. Mercedes is still far away.
"We are about 40-50 horse power behind Mercedes, but about 25 ahead of Renault."