Sauber has announced that they will switch to Honda power from next season, becoming the Japanese manufacturer’s second team. The move comes against the difficult start to the season, with poor reliability and a lack of performance.
Honda is the only manufacturer currently which only supplies a single team, McLaren. The move will allow Honda will double their data pool from next season.
“This will be a new challenge in Honda’s F1 activities,” said Katsuhide Moriyama, the Honda Motor Racing Company’s chief officer of brand and communications.
“In order to leverage the benefits of supplying to two teams to the maximum extent, we will strengthen the systems and capabilities of both of our two development operations, namely HRD Sakura and the operation in Milton Keynes.” added Moriyama.
Honda has long expressed their interest in doubling their supply since they returned to the sport in 2015. However, they didn’t have enough capacity to service a customer outfit alongside McLaren.
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn believes the new Honda partnership places them on a path to a successful future. Saying “It is a great honour for the Sauber F1 Team to be able to work together with Honda in the coming seasons.”
“Our realignment is not just visible through the new ownership but also now with our new technological partnership with Honda. We have set another milestone with this new engine era, which we await with huge excitement and of course we are looking for new opportunities.
This move by Sauber will focus the media and speculation about the future of the McLaren Honda partnership, as they try to turn around the difficult start to the season.
There is a rumour that this move could see McLaren return to Mercedes power, however Racing Director Eric Boullier strongly denied that was the case.
The Frenchman also said he had increased “faith” that Honda was taking steps to produce a more competitive engine. Like McLaren, Sauber are yet to score a point in 2017 ahead of Sunday’s Sochi race