L&T Motorsport

Sauber cancel Honda engine deal for 2018

Sauber F1 team have announced that they have ended the provisional agreement with Honda over engine supply for the 2018 season.

The Swiss outfit released the news on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend and that the choice was for ‘strategic reasons’.

At current the team run year old supply of Ferrari engines and had signed the deal with Honda back in April. However rumours have been around for a while now in regards to it being cancelled, especially since former team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, who was the one that signed the deal, was replaced with Fred Vasseur in July.

According to Honda themselves the decision was mutual and due to a ‘differences in the future direction between Honda and Sauber’.

“During discussions after management changes at the team, we reached a mutual agreement to call-off the project due to differences in the future directions of both parties,” said Honda chief Masashi Yamamoto.

An announcement on who will supply Sauber in 2018 is expected shortly, how ‘shortly’ that will be remains to be seen but the team has stated it remains committed to F1.

The decision by Sauber to cancel the agreement puts another spin onto the potential decision of McLaren about Honda. The Woking outfit are considering their options with the Japanese manufacturer and if they were to cancel their agreement then it would be almost definite that Honda would leave the sport after only three years.

However, Yamamoto has said that “Honda’s passion for motor sports and strong commitment to Formula One remains unchanged.”‘

One rumour is that Sauber is in talks with Mercedes about a deal with the German outfit. This could have implications on McLaren as well with the former World Champions rumours to have been looking to return to its former engine supplier which it enjoyed multiple championship success. Of course Sauber may stick with and possibly strengthen its relationship with Ferrari that might even see current GP2 star Charles Leclerc or Antonio Giovinazzi, who raced for the team earlier this year, in a race seat for 2018.

Andrew Campbell
Photo Credit: Sky Sports

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