Sauber has confirmed it will run Honda engines in 2018, ending months of speculation about the Swiss team’s plans for next season.
The deal, which Sauber calls an “extensive strategic and technological realignment”, ends the team’s long-standing relationship with Ferrari and will see it become Honda’s second team behind McLaren. Though Honda has endured a difficult time with McLaren since returning in 2015, the Japanese manufacturer has pushed hard for another customer team to increase mileage and bolster available resources.
For Sauber, it will bring the team back up to date in terms of engines, as it is competing the 2017 season with a year-old Ferrari power unit. That decision was made to focus on the team’s long-term future and securing a proper engine deal was part of that vision.
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn said: “”It is a great honor 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.”
Honda has promised the addition of Sauber will come with an expansion of its own F1 resources at it looks to recover from its current situation.
Katsuhide Moriyama, the manufacturer’s chief of brand and communication operations, said: “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.”