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Sauber, Honda call off F1 engine deal for 2018

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Sauber has confirmed that its planned Formula 1 engine deal and technical partnership with Honda for 2018 has been canceled.

Sauber announced at the end of April that it had struck a deal to use Honda power units from 2018 as part of a new partnership with the Japanese manufacturer, brokered by then-CEO and team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

Kaltenborn’s departure ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June threw the deal into doubt amid a dispute with team chairman Pascal Picci, with the incoming Frederic Vasseur tasked with resolving the matter.

In a statement issued by Sauber on Thursday, it was confirmed that the deal with Honda had been canceled, the team adding that its new engine partner would be “announced shortly”.

“It is very unfortunate that we have to discontinue the planned collaboration with Honda at this stage,” Vasseur said.

“However, this decision has been made for strategic reasons, and with the best intent for the future of the Sauber F1 Team in mind.

“We would like to thank Honda for their collaboration, and wish them all the best for their future in Formula 1.”

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.