Honda: Talks with Red Bull over engine supply ongoing

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Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai has confirmed that he remains engaged in talks with a possible second customer team for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Honda returned to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015, reforging its famed partnership with McLaren that enjoyed great success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Despite enduring a comeback season blighted by issues with its power unit, Honda is known to be in talks with Red Bull over a possible supply for 2016 thanks to the team’s own engine crisis.

Red Bull decided to cut ties with Renault after a lacklustre performance in 2015, only for both Mercedes and Ferrari to reject an engine deal, forcing it to open negotiations with Honda.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Arai (pictured) confirmed that talks with a possible new customer team were ongoing, but did not name Red Bull.

“Obviously we cannot discuss details at this moment,” Arai said. “We have been approached by the team but discussions are ongoing and nothing has been decided.

“I always say this season: we are always open, so we are in discussions that are ongoing – that’s it.”

Earlier this week, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo stressed the importance of a swift resolution of his team’s engine crisis, saying that it should take whatever deal it can.

“The longer it gets, the more difficult it becomes, but I probably have more confidence that we will be on the grid than I had before,” Ricciardo told reporters in Mexico. “I believe we will be there because everyone wants to be, it’s just knowing what we are going to be with is hard to know.

“Honestly, in terms of what engine we are going to have it is still unknown, but the vibe is that we still want to stay here – unless no-one gives us an engine, that is the only thing that will stop us from racing.

“I think we will take what we can get because we want to be racing.”