Honda’s Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe says the manufacturer hopes to be in a position to fight for this year’s Formula 1 title, with a small raft of updates set to be introduced in Austria.
Honda returned to Formula 1 in 2015 but its three-year relationship with McLaren was characterised by a lack of reliability and performance.
After a rebuilding year with Toro Rosso in 2018 Honda joined forces with Red Bull last season.
The Red Bull-Honda partnership scored three wins, with the first coming in Austria, while Max Verstappen went on to score pole in Hungary, the first for a Honda-powered Formula 1 car since 2006.
In a Honda Q&A, when asked about hopes for 2020, Tanabe-san said: “We hope to challenge for the championship and to get the win as much as we can.”
Formula 1 engine suppliers had to join teams in closing factories for a lengthy period and confirmed that updates will be in place in Austria, albeit not a new specification.
“We had to stop development, so we cannot improve very much our PU,” he said.
“The basic concept design is carried over, I mean the same as Barcelona test, but we have improved some small areas in terms of reliability and also some performance areas.”
Formula 1 is still defining its finalised calendar though expects to hold between 15 and 18 events, a reduction on the original 22-race schedule.
Tanabe-san believes a condensed calendar may allow Honda to be more aggressive with its performance.
“As I always say both are very important,” he said on performance and reliability.
“In terms of a short season I believe still a balance is still very important, but when we know exactly how many races there are for this year we can try something [with a] little bit more performance than reliability because the season will be getting shorter.”