Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says the numbers produced by the Japanese manufacturer's all-new power unit on its dyno have matched its expectations.
Honda initially delayed the introduction of its new engine to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the company's decision to exit F1 at the end of this year encouraged it to bring forward the development of the unit that will power both Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams this season.
"Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were going to introduce a new PU for this year," Tanabe explained
"However, given all the difficulties and restrictions because of the long F1 shutdown, combined with the European lockdown and delay in parts supply, we had decided to postpone it to 2022.
"However, taking into account the decision announced in October 2020, that Honda would leave the sport at the end of 2021, we reassessed the situation and changed our plan again to reintroduce it in 2021.
"It was very tight timing to make this change, but we managed to bring forward the development and preparation programme.
"At Honda, we felt that we really wanted to use all our technical know-how before leaving the sport."
In a bid to enjoy a winning final year in the sport and exit F1 on a high, Honda has spared no effort to produce performance gains, and so far the numbers show clear advances.
"On the dyno the numbers we have seen match what we expected. Let's see how competitive we can be on track in the actual races," commented Tanabe.
The Honda F1 tech boss says his engineers worked on every main element of the hybrid engine, including its layout, to extract more performance from its package without compromising reliability.
"It is difficult to be specific about which parts have seen the most work, but in order to improve power and reliability, we have made modifications to the ICE, turbine and ERS," he added.
"This is our third year with Scuderia AlphaTauri and in order to improve as a whole, we have also improved the installation and packaging of the entire PU."
This year's gains will benefit Red Bull and AlphaTauri in the future when the Honda engine program is transferred to Milton Keynes at the end of 2021, a move welcomed by Tanabe.
"I think it is the right thing for Honda to do, considering our relationship with Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing, and how much Honda has benefited from those partnerships," he said.
"It also reflects the importance of our role and history, as part of the world of Formula 1 over several decades. So, I am glad that Honda has been able to help the two teams and the sport in this way."