Honda F1's technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has claimed that his companies power unit, which will be utilized by Red Bull and Alpha Tauri this season, is a far more complete package than in previous years.
The Honda-powered cars impressed throughout the three days of F1 testing in Bahrain a fortnight ago, with Alpha Tauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda registering the fastest time of the weekend.
Crucially, Tanabe believes Honda's engine will deliver more than just sheer grunt this season.
“After a short winter break, the 2021 season begins this weekend in Bahrain," Tanabe wrote for Honda.racing.
“From Honda’s side, in order to improve our performance, we have modified many of our PU components so that we effectively have a new PU [Power Unit] for this season."
A new PU might well be the key to Red Bull closing the gap to pacesetters Mercedes, who are chasing an F1 record of eight constructor world titles in a row this season.
However, the holistic nature of Honda's powertrain upgrade has the potential to help Red Bull usurp the German team in 2021 - if Tanabe is to be believed.
"Compared to last year, the new one has more power, a lower centre of gravity and is very compact," The Honda F1 chief continues.
"Therefore, apart from the power increase, the PU has also improved the overall packaging and therefore performance of both our teams’ cars."