Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has ruled out the possibility of her team switching to Honda power this season in the event McLaren drops the Japanese manufacturer during 2017.
After a horrid pre-season with Honda’s underpowered and uncompetitive power unit, McLaren approached Mercedes about the possibility of rekindling their former engine partnership. Some have suggested that change could happen during the season, which would leave Honda’s engines free for Sauber, who are running year-old Ferrari engines in 2017.
When asked if Sauber has talked to Honda about the possibility of an engine change this year, Kaltenborn told Racer: “No. We have engaged no such talks for this season. We have our engine supply and we are going to be there. No, we would not [be interested in such talks]. Our situation is clear and we don’t need to change it because others have problems.”
Sauber’s primary motivation for taking on 2016 Ferrari engines for this season was to save money for aerodynamic development, but also so the team could focus on rebuilding its operation away from the race track and creating a good foundation for future seasons. The demise of Manor ahead of this season means there is a supply of Mercedes engines on the table for 2018, while Sauber has also been tipped as a potential Honda customer.
Kaltenborn says the team’s discussions with Honda have centred around the 2018 season but that she is keeping Sauber’s options open.
“We are talking. We are talking — we are open with our open with our engine situation and we have a couple of options. We know that we soon have to make a decision and we will, but we are not committed anywhere.”