While McLaren may be excited about a new reliability upgrade coming from Honda for the Russian Grand Prix this weekend, they may be less than elated with the news that Sauber is close to completing a deal for Honda power units in 2018.
According to reports, Sauber will jettison a long-standing partnership with Ferrari in favor of a Honda power unit. Honda’s focus on McLaren for the first few seasons of their return to F1 was certainly understandable but they’ve always said they would be interested in supplying more than one team in Formula 1.
When Red Bull approached them about an engine supply, it was then CEO, Ron Dennis, who squashed the deal insisting that a second supply would dilute the partnership McLaren had with Honda. Suggestions at the time were made that if it were someone like Sauber, Ron may not have had as big of an issue but this was Red Bull Racing.
A year or so onward and with new owners, Sauber is close to inking the deal according to Autosport. However, the same concerns remain but this time from the mouth of race director Eric Boullier.
“I think more teams is better and more engine running is better,” Boullier said.
“But there is a price to pay for that, which is deviating more resources into building more engines.
“Whatever happens, we are partners, so at some stage there will be a second team supply question, and I think we’ll have to support this.
“But we want to make sure it’s not detrimental to our partnership.”
Understandable concerns but in the end, and at this point, I think Honda would benefit as well as McLaren with more engines running more mileage.
Hat tip: Autosport