By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Honda and Sauber have mutually agreed to put an end to a potential deal that would have seen the Japanese manufacturer supply the longtime Formula 1 team with engines in 2018.
The interest for a new engine supplier came from Sauber’s former team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, and was being discussed with Honda motorsport’s general manager, Masashi Yamamoto.
However, Kaltenborn’s departure in June prior to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix put the situation in flux until the Hinwill-based squad put their faith in replacement and former Renault team principal, Frédéric Vasseur.
“It is very unfortunate that we have to discontinue the planned collaboration with Honda at this stage,” said Vasseur, via a team release.
“However, this decision has been made for strategic reasons, and with the best intent for the future of the Sauber F1 Team in mind. We would like to thank Honda for their collaboration, and wish them all the best for their future in Formula One.”
Sauber has been running with an outdated Ferrari engine and has believed heavily that an updated engine would make them much more competitive.
The team also said “a new engine partner will be announced shortly.”
Pascal Wehrlein, who missed the opening two rounds due to concerns over his fitness following a neck injury, currently sits 15th in the overall standings, ahead of teammate Marcus Ericsson (19th), with two finishes in the points – eighth at the Spanish Grand Prix and 10th at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
As for Honda, this leaves them with only McLaren as their only current outfit in Formula 1. However, McLaren have not been pleased with the performance this season and have put their engine supplier on notice for improved pace and reliability.