F1 return far harder than we imagined - Honda

Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai has admitted that their return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier has been far harder than they originally envisaged, but believes they're now on the right path to success.

Honda last tasted major success in the sport when it last linked up with McLaren in late '80s and early '90s. The partnership won multiple titles and was the team to beat in that era.

However things have changed drastically since then and Arai admits the complexity of the new hybrid technology took Honda by surprise.

"Expectations were always going to be high because of our illustrious history with McLaren," he said. "Most of the fans have a great image of McLaren-Honda's heritage so they expected us to return to Formula 1 and be competitive immediately. Obviously this has not been the case. 

"The sport has changed immensely since the McLaren-Honda 'glory days'. The current technology is much more sophisticated and it is tough to make a good racing car. We knew it wouldn't be easy, but perhaps we didn't imagine that it would be this hard."

However the Japanese company is confident its headed in the right direction after a shaky start.

It took its best result of the season at the last race as Fernando Alonso finished fifth, whilst an upgrade is expected to boost the performance of its engine in Belgium and beyond.

"I certainly didn't imagine technology wise what we would be facing, but I have complete confidence in the direction we have taken with our power unit. We needed to create something radical in order to beat the top teams, and that is our ultimate goal – to beat the best."