Honda have set a deadline for any Formula One teams looking to use the Japanese manufacturer as their power-unit supplier in 2018. The deadline is May 2017 around the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
Honda have been exclusive to McLaren up until this point and have worked with the team to develop their power-unit over a few bumpy seasons that has seen competitiveness and reliability gradually improve. One team that will possibly be looking for a switch in 2018 will be Sauber, who are running a year-old Ferrari power-unit next season and have seen their longstanding technical partnership with the Italian carmaker decline since the arrival of the Haas Formula One team.
Honda’s F1 chief Yasuke Hasegawa is under no illusion that their power-unit needs to be more attractive in order to gather interest, but believes that next year’s more open development regulations should allow them to reduce their deficit in power swiftly.
“Well, we need to pay costs as well [associated with supplying a second team]. But it’s very obvious we can increase the data and the chance of spotting a failure.
Now we are discussing the possibility of cooperation and the chance to supply the engine but so far, there is no fixed negotiation. There has been informal interest. They are very kind to show some level of interest.
Mercedes customers have no strong intention to change their engine to Honda. We have to prove we can show a decent step in the performance of the Honda engine. Until then, I don’t think they can show us a concrete request.”
– Yasuke Hasegawa