The Sauber Formula 1 team and Honda have agreed to cancel their proposed long-term technological partnership due to “differences in the future direction of both parties.”
In April, it was agreed that Honda would supply the team with current spec engines from the 2018 season onwards, with the Swiss team joining McLaren in being powered by the Japanese manufacturer.
But after Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn, who instigated the deal, left the team, Honda began to rethink the commitment.
Masahi Yamamoto, the General Manger, Motor Sports Division of Honda said: “We had built a good relationship with Sauber and had been looking forward to entering the 2018 F1 season together.
“However, during discussions after management changes at the team (Kaltenborn leaving), we reached a mutual agreement to call-off the project due to differences in the future directions of both parties.
“We would like to thank Sauber for the cooperation, and wish them well for their future.”
“Best intent for the future”
Newly installed Sauber Team Principal Frederic Vasseur said: “It is very unfortunate that we have to discontinue the planned collaboration with Honda at this stage.
He continued to say: “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.”
Although the deal has been cancelled, Honda have renewed their future commitment to Formula 1, as engine supplier to McLaren with Yamamoto saying “Despite this announcement, Honda’s passion for motorsports and strong commitment to Formula One remains unchanged.”
Vasseur to look for new engine deal
After the announcement, Vasseur needs to quickly source an engine supply deal for the ’18 season.
The Honda deal was supposed to end Sauber’s long-term relationship with Ferrari and enable the Hinwil based team to run up to date power units.
This was after Kaltenborn decided to run year-old Ferrari units in the 2017 season.
Sauber currently sit in ninth place in the constructor standings, with five points, and a best placed finish of eighth in the Spanish Grand Prix.