Formula 1 is close to parity between its four engine manufacturers, according to Williams performance chief Rob Smedley.
Mercedes got a jump on its rivals when the 1.6-liter V6 hybrids were introduced ahead of the 2014 season. But Ferrari made clear improvements last year, Renault has done so this year and Honda is also closing the gap after starting a year behind.
“In qualifying trim, there’s not a great deal in it and that’s fairly evident,” Smedley said. “If you just look at speed traps, there is not the difference, either towed or untowed or DRS or non-DRS, that we used to have. There is much more parity between all of the top cars.”
Honda has struggled with power and reliability since it returned to F1 last year with McLaren but Smedley believes it is not as far behind as many think.
“Everybody is catching up,” he said. “Honda have a little way to go but of course they are going to be a year behind – they came in a year late.
“It’s not quite as much as some people would have you believe, that deficit there. Certainly between the Mercedes, the Ferrari and the Renault engine, there are differences but they are reasonably small.”
For 2017, a package of measures has been put in place to achieve power convergence, with the token system to be removed. There will be additional limits on weights, dimensions and boost pressure from 2018 and limitations put in place to prevent a spending arms race. Measurement systems will be implemented by the FIA on an annual basis to ensure targets are met.