Jun.21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Honda has backed away from speculation it is ready to supply a second team with engines in 2016.

The Japanese carmaker has said consistently since returning to the sport that while this year will be spent focused on works partner McLaren, it is open to selling the same turbo V6 to paying customers from 2016.

Manor, currently powered by last year’s Ferrari power unit, had indicated it was open to a change.

But as the works McLaren-Honda collaboration continued to stutter in Austria, Honda’s F1 boss Yasuhisa Arai said: “I still think it is a good idea to supply more teams with engines, but the truth is that there is no such plan.

“We are focused on working with McLaren,” he is quoted by Speed Week.

But Andy Cowell, engine chief of Mercedes who equip three customers as well as its works team, said the more similarly-powered cars on the grid, “The more you learn”.

And that might be exactly what struggling Honda needs at present.

McLaren team boss Eric Boullier, however, said: “We (Honda) are not yet ready to supply a second team.

“Even if I have the same opinion (as Arai) that this would be good for the sport, I also don’t believe it hurts us (McLaren) to be the sole partner of Honda.

“Much of the development work can be done on the test rigs, and a second team can also be a distraction,” Boullier added.