Honda says it feels “very well prepared on all fronts” as it begins its bid to claim a Formula 1 title ahead of its exit from the championship at the end of 2021.
Honda announced last October that it will exit Formula 1 in an official capacity after 2021 though its power units will be operated and managed by Red Bull Powertrains for the rest of the engine cycle through 2024.
Honda last year claimed three victories with Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri and accelerated the introduction of its planned 2022 power unit 12 months early in anticipation of its departure.
The company has previously outlined that modifications have been made to the ICE, turbine and ERS, as well as overall packaging and installation.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri drivers were cautiously optimistic in the wake of pre-season testing earlier this month.
Commenting on the progress, Honda chief Toyoharu Tanabe said: “From Honda’s side, in order to improve our performance, we have modified many of our PU components so that we effectively have a new PU for this season.
“Compared to last year, the new one has more power, a lower centre of gravity and is very compact.
“Therefore, apart from the power increase, the PU has also improved the overall packaging and therefore performance of both our teams’ cars.”
Honda powered Red Bull Racing to second in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship, the company’s highest position since it supplied BAR in 2004, and it is aiming to dethrone Mercedes in its farewell season.
“This will be Honda’s last year in Formula 1,” said Tanabe. “We feel we are very well prepared on all fronts, from the PU to the chassis to our two strong driver line-ups.
“We will take every race as it comes as we strive for our ultimate goal of winning the Formula 1 world championship.”