Ron Dennis has earmarked Sauber as a potential future second team for Honda, according to sources close to McLaren.
Dennis made it clear yesterday that Honda could not supply Red Bull in 2016 because the time scale made it impossible for the Japanese manufacturer to make enough parts.
However there is increasing pressure from Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone for Honda to work with another team from 2017, and Sauber presents an obvious opportunity, not least because McLaren would not regard the Swiss team as a direct rival.
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn insisted that there was only a general discussion about Sauber’s engine situation at the recent F1 Commission, but she admitted that longer term, options were open.
“There was a lot of engine talk going on in the meeting when we were all in there,” she told this writer. “And in that context we were discussing an option like that, and more looking at the past and what had happened.
“In the context of that we also had a talk about what our engine situation is, and we said we are currently bound, but you should always keep all options open. It was embedded in a bigger public talk about engine suppliers having to supply more teams. We have a long lasting relationship with Ferrari, it’s a good relationship. But no one knows what’s going to be in two, three or four years.”
Intriguingly Kaltenborn admitted that she had talked in the past to former Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi about the possibility of the team getting a Honda supply.
“There was once an idea that we were thinking of maybe having Honda. We were not approached by Honda, put it like this, but it was because of Kamui Kobayashi, who came and asked us. Don’t ask me if it was last year or the year before, but this was the context of that talk.”
7 responses to “Dennis eyes Sauber as acceptable Honda partner”
The commercial deal would have to be pretty good to make them give up the Ferrari engine surely?
Regarding a commercial deal influencing Sauber’s decision, if the Giedo van der Garde situation was any indication of their finances, they might be open to a deal.
So not only is Ron deciding who Honda can’t supply to, but he’s now chosen himself to select the teams Honda should work with.
Odd that the head of a different motor manufacturer if deciding Honda policy and strategy these days …
A fine piece of work. If anyone should go down it is Mclaren
Of course Ron would accept Sauber with Honda engines. He doesn’t see them as a threat. Would love to see Sauber-Honda outperform the Mac’s just to watch Ron’s head explode.
I didn’t realise there was this level of animosity between McLaren and Sauber. Ron must really hate them to suggest giving them Honda engines!
Too true, at this point the surest way to have RBR behind McLaren would have been to give them a Honda MGU-K.