Red Bull's Helmut Marko is keeping close tabs on Toro Rosso engine partner Honda, aware that the Japanese manufacturer could power the senior bull outfit in 2019.
The energy drink's motorsport boss is happy with the information he has received so far from Faenza.
Marko admits however that Honda's goodwill and image were dealt big blows during its failed partnership with McLaren, thanks in no small part to Fernando Alonso's persistent bashing says the Austrian.
"Honda is very active and has already found something," Marko is quoted by Auto, Motor und Sport.
"Maybe they'll manage to be on the level of Renault with the second engine. Honda had to compromise because of the chassis specification from McLaren.
"They could not develop freely and were pretty limited. Alonso has did everything to make the engine look bad."
According to Marko, Mercedes will remain F1's power benchmark this season, especially in qualifying where its rivals' power units are no match for the German manufacturer's special engine mode.
"The worst thing is their qualifying mode," says the Red Bull manager.
"They are always ahead in qualifying and you cannot overtake on most tracks. And in the race they sometimes use significantly less fuel.
"Mercedes' overall package is clearly ahead in terms of driveability, performance, consumption and energy deployment."