Honda has responded to recent criticism about the condition of their engines heading into 2018, by claiming that their performance in the Brazilian Grand Prix proves they are at at a 'decent level' and ready to build ahead of the new season.
McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was one of those most vociferous in his opinion of the engine after Interlagos; the Spaniard had chased down Felipe Massa for much of the closing stages but felt that the 'lack of power [in the engine] was amazing'.
Alonso added that Toro Rosso should be concerned ahead of next year, when they will have Honda engines in their cars, but Honda F1 project leader Yusuke Hasegawa has moved to defend their design, and believes that at the moment they are where they should be.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: "Since Monza, our package and engine performance is almost at a decent level.
"It depends on the circuit characteristics. Sometimes the Williams and Force India is quicker. Sometimes, Williams, Force India and Renault is almost the same level of performance.
"We could maximise the current engine performance in Brazil, which is encouraging. From a power point of view, we're a little bit behind the other engines. We are closing the gap, but we're not there yet.
"This weekend, we've had no [reliability] issues which is very encouraging."
Hasegawa also feels that despite Alonso's complaints about his performance in Brazil, this is a sign that the McLaren-Honda relationship has moved on significantly since the start of the campaign.
"As a total package point of view, that was our position, where Fernando finished," he said.
"We are quicker than Williams and we are almost the same level as Force India.
"It's a shame that we cannot overtake the Williams, but we are happy to protect the position from [Sergio] Perez."
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