Honda Racing boss Nick Fry says his team are now aiming to beat McLaren this year, on the back of their performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.
With Ferrari and Renault appearing to be in a class of their own at the front of the field, Fry believes that his team's pace at the Circuit de Catalunya - which is usually a good indicator of how good a car is - has delivered good reason to feel bullish about their prospects against their nearest rivals.
Jenson Button recovered from a suspected front-wing issue, which cost him time in qualifying, to finish the Spanish Grand Prix in sixth place - less than two seconds behind McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.
"As you know, I am a cup half full rather than a cup half empty guy," said Fry, who has stayed positive about his team's form despite not yet achieving their pre-season ambitions of fighting for race wins.
"There was a great quote I found from Colin Powell: 'Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.' And I really believe in that.
"If you think you are going to come second, then you are going to come second, and there is no point thinking like that.
"I said to someone last weekend that football teams don't walk out onto the pitch saying, 'we hope to come a good second'. We want to beat who we can.
"We picked up a little bit on McLaren in the constructors' championship, only a modest amount, but we finished with two cars and we clearly had the legs on them. So whoever is the next stop ahead is clearly the one we are going to be targeting."
Honda Racing's new full-size wind tunnel is due to end its commissioning phase in the next two weeks, which will be a major boost to the team's hopes of finding more speed from their RA106.
Fry said that he saw no reason to be depressed about his team's failure so far to grab that elusive maiden race victory.
"My attitude is that as long as we are learning and as long as we have got a plan to move forward, then I am not happy but that is acceptable. It is when you don't have a plan, then that is unacceptable.
"We have still got a whole raft of things that we want to experiment with. We have got another test in Vallelunga, we have got a lot of ideas to improve the car there, and of course the full-size wind tunnel is coming on stream with real results.
"So the thing I can do is look our drivers in the eye and say there are tangible things that we can identify, which will make us do better. And, as long as we can do that, and as long as we are moving forward, then clearly we are still frustrated but we are at least moving in the right direction.
"And we are drawing away from the people behind in terms of championship position and speed of car. There is a little bit of daylight to at least two of the other manufacturer teams."