Honda has announced that it will supply engines to the Sauber Formula 1 team next season.
Following months of speculation about Sauber's plans for 2018, the Swiss outfit finally confirmed its plans on Sunday morning. The deal will bring an end to a long-term relationship Sauber has had with Ferrari, and will see it become Honda's second team alongside McLaren in a multi-year agreement. Although Honda has had a difficult time since returning to Formula 1 in 2015, the deal for a second team should give it potential for added mileage and scope to bolster its resources and infrastructure.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: "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."
"We very much look forward to our partnership with Honda, which sets the course for a successful future – from a strategic as well as from a technological perspective. We thank Honda for making this great partnership happen.”
Despite rumours this weekend that McLaren could be switching to Mercedes engines in 2018, Honda has made it clear that the Sauber deal will be a second supply. Honda's Katsuhide Moriyama added: “In addition to the partnership with McLaren which began in 2015, Honda will begin supplying power units to Sauber as a customer team starting from next year."
"This will be a new challenge in Honda’s F1 activities. 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.
"We will continue our challenges so that our fans will enjoy seeing a Honda with dominant strength as soon as possible.”