|Honda F1 engine|
(GMM) Honda is not yet committed to Formula 1 beyond 2020.
That is the claim of Dr Helmut Marko, a top official at Red Bull.
He admits that Honda still has work to do to catch Ferrari and Mercedes, even though ExxonMobil introduced an innovative new fuel for the Japanese carmaker's 'spec 4' engine at Suzuka.
"In qualifying we are still clearly behind, especially Ferrari," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
"We lost eight tenths to them on the straights. But in the race we are about equal to Mercedes," he said.
As for Honda's future beyond 2020, Marko admits that is clouded at present.
"They are waiting until the new regulations are on the table," he said. "Then they will analyze everything and decide."
Marko admitted that reducing costs for the engine manufacturers will be a "very important" aspect of that analysis.
"If it does not get cheaper, there will be hardly anyone left," he said.
But he thinks it would be premature to 'freeze' engine development at the moment.
"Freezing only works when everybody is at the same level," said Marko. "At the moment, Ferrari drives away from everyone in qualifying, including Mercedes."