Honda says it has ’no concrete plan’ to supply a second team yet in 2018, despite Sauber looking out for a potential new power unit partner.
Sauber has used Ferrari engines since 2010, but will use the 2016-specification power unit next season, in what is also the last year of its current contract. It is understood Sauber is evaluating other power unit suppliers moving forwards if it were to leave Ferrari, with Honda a possibility as the Japanese manufacturer has been expanding its Milton Keynes facility in order to have the capacity to supply a second team.
Despite the work undertaken at its UK base, Honda’s head of F1 project Yusuke Hasegawa says there has yet to be serious discussions with a second team beyond McLaren.
“We are preparing to provide multiple teams from 2018, however there is no concrete plan at the moment,” Hasegawa told F1i when asked if talks with Sauber have taken place for 2018. “Should we be approached by any team, we will look into matters seriously and decide.”
Honda has often stated its willingness to add a customer team alongside its McLaren deal, with new regulations having been introduced which theoretically could see a power unit supplier forced to take on an extra team which doesn’t have a deal for the following season.
Nearing the end of its second season since returning to F1, Hasegawa recently described himself as only “50% satisfied” with Honda’s progress in 2016, with regular top ten results punctuated by poor weekends such as at Suzuka.