In what appears to be a sharp reverse in course, Sauber has inked a new Ferrari engine supply deal for 2018. The team had previously announced it was securing a Honda supply contract for next season but with the ousting of team boss Monisha Kaltenborn and the arrival of her replacement in veteran Fred Vasseur, it looks like Ferrari represented a better package for the team.
Sauber has been a partner of Ferrari’s for a long time and as of now, it is a more competitive engine than Honda. This leaves Honda looking for new teams to supply and reports suggest that Toro Rosso could be a candidate for 2019.
Obviously Honda would like to continue with McLaren and with Ferrari and Mercedes not interested in supplying the team from Woking, this may be their only hope.
I’m of the impression that McLaren would find it difficult to bring a new engine supplier into F1 so late in the regulations for the current engine format but there is another part of me that wonders if the future direction of the sport is going to deviate that much from its existing engine specifications?
My point here is that if the sport is intending on moving forward with a twin turbo V6 with MGU-K, then would it be possible to get a new manufacturer into F1 in 2018 or 2019 or would the cost still be too high even though the series would be moving in the same, relative, direction it is now?
At this point, Mario Illien’s comments are probably most solid. The company he founded, Ilmor, is looking for a partner to team with and enter F1 in 2021. Seems more logical at this point. The reality is that F1 seems to have the right intent but the results often times lead to more expense. The 4-engine rule for example.
“Next year, having three engines is more expensive than producing four engines,” Illien argued.
“All the new parts you are developing have to go through testing on the dyno, to make sure you have achieved the mileage for three engines a year. And that is expensive.
“I think even four is not enough. We’re halfway through this season, and half the field has got a problem.”
Illien also urged F1 to worry less about road relevance with its next rules package.
“I think road relevance is not that important. In my view, we’ve got to go racing again,” he said.
“Yes we can benefit road cars to a certain degree, but I think the relevance should be secondary.
“If nobody is going to watch F1 because it’s so boring, it’s not the point.
“Especially as the world is going more hybrid and electric, we need to have something on the racetrack nobody could have at home.”
Which was my point in the editorial I wrote about Porsche and Mercedes leaving other series in order to make electric cars in Formula E. Fine, then let’s get the other series back to cars nobody at home could have…like a V10, V8 running at 900bhp and 220mph.
Hat Tip: Autosport