Jenson Button is confident McLaren will enjoy massive gains in lap time when they’re able to run their Honda power unit at 100 per cent.
At present Honda are having to detune the engine in order to maximise reliability. They plan to gradually increase power output on a race-by-race basis.
When they’re finally at 100 per cent, Button reckons they’ll see a major step forward.
“As soon as we can extract more power from areas and not have to turn things down we will hopefully find more than we expected in terms of power and lap time,” he said.
“There is one engine that has more power than the others [Mercedes], there is one that is close to it [Ferrari] and there is another one that is quite a long way away from it [Renault] … and then there’s us.”
The Briton explained that gains will not only come from the increased power, but through greater fuel efficiency as they will no longer be racing at full throttle for as long as they are now.
“The biggest problem is that if you have a power deficit it is a snowball effect. We are all allowed to use the same amount of fuel, [but] we spend more time at full throttle than the Mercedes so we use more fuel, which means you have to save more fuel, which means you are going even slower.
“It’s a very difficult situation but we all knew that when the formula started and it was designed, so we can’t really complain too much about it.”