Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa admits there is still a huge gap to rival Formula 1 engine supplier Renault due to the surprising progress of the French manufacturer.
McLaren-Honda has moved up the grid this season, putting it in a battle with Williams, Force India and Toro Rosso to be the fourth quickest team.
But Hasegawa conceded Honda is still last in the pecking order and has a long way to go to catch its rivals.
“We’re number four,” he told Autosport. “It is Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and then Honda.
“We have a huge gap to Renault. I’ve been surprised by their progress. They have done a very good job.
“Next year, we’re aiming to achieve the level of Mercedes engine.
“At this moment, I don’t know if that is possible but that is our aim.”
With the engine regulations remaining stable until at least 2020, Hasegawa suggested F1 could achieve engine parity before the end of that period.
“To achieve everything the same level, still we need another two or three years,” he said.
“Mercedes are also improving, but from a scientific point of view, I don’t think they have much room to improve in terms of power compared to us. That is natural.
“From our analysis, their numbers are incredible.
“From an analytical point of view, their power difference hasn’t changed from the beginning of the season.”
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