Ron Dennis: “We have been working 24/7 in Woking all winter”

McLaren and Honda reunited in 2015 but slumped to ninth in the standings amid performance and reliability issues, which were pinned primarily on the Japanese manufacturer’s power unit.

Dennis is aware that McLaren-Honda still has substantial progress to make, but is confident that the partnership will eventually be able to close the gap to leaders Mercedes.

“We at McLaren-Honda will not be in the hunt for outright world championship glory in 2016, but we expect to make good progress compared with 2015,” he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the official Formula 1 website.

“We have been working 24/7 in Woking all winter, weekends as well as weekdays, nights as well as days, and our colleagues at Honda have also been burning the midnight oil in Sakura.

“Expenditure of effort does not guarantee success, of course, but you may rest assured that no Formula 1 team has been putting in more hours over the past few months than we have.

“At some point during the season, we will begin to spring a few surprises. Clearly, Honda’s power unit was a significant contributor to our under-performance last season.”

Dennis added that Honda’s re-entry into the sport in 2015 means it is still playing catch-up with more established rivals.

“Their [Honda’s] Formula 1 power unit is still in the relatively early stages of its gestation, compared with those of Mercedes and Ferrari especially,” he explained.

“And its developmental curve will therefore remain steep for some time yet, which will trigger a series of horsepower increments over the coming weeks and months. And our chassis is already a very good one.