Honda can leapfrog Formula 1 engine rival Renault before the end of the current season, says its motorsport chief Yusuke Hasegawa.
The Japanese manufacturer has been fourth in the engine pecking order, behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, since rejoining F1 in 2015.
After changing its engine concept over the winter, Honda has struggled for performance and reliability this year, which in turn has put a strain on its relationship with McLaren.
But Honda has shown progress in recent races, with the team scoring its first points in June’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix - where it introduced ‘spec 3’ - followed by a double-points finish in Hungary last time out.
“I think we can keep the same ratio of the increasing of the power but it is difficult to catch up Mercedes or Ferrari,” Hasegawa told Motorsport.com.
“I really want to move ahead of Renault in terms of performance before the end of the season.”
When asked if he believed that would be a genuine possibility, given the Japanese manufacturer’s horsepower deficit to its rivals, Hasegawa replied: “Yes, I can see that on the data. I will not tell you the number, but we are closing the gap.”
Hasegawa added he felt this was the closest Honda has been to its rivals since rejoining F1 in 2015.