© Getty Images

Honda: Talks with Red Bull over engine supply ongoing

1 Comment

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.”

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.