Newly-appointed Sauber Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur is eager to resolve the team’s “Honda question” for 2018 amid speculation that its announced deal could be scrapped.
Sauber announced a power unit deal with Honda for 2018 over the Russian Grand Prix weekend prior to former team principal and CEO Monisha Kaltenborn’s departure from the team.
Kaltenborn left ahead of last month’s race in Azerbaijan after a disagreement with team chairman Pascal Picci, with reports suggesting the Honda deal was a key point of contention.
Multiple outlets including Auto Bild and Autosport claimed earlier this week that Sauber’s deal with Honda had not been completed despite the announcement, putting it at risk for 2018 following the change in leadership.
Honda’s lack of competitiveness is apparently a concern for Sauber’s top management, and Vasseur confirmed to French newspaper L’Equipe that he too has qualms.
“The Honda question is on the table. It’s the first one I’m going to work on,” Vasseur said.
“We need to take care of this quickly. In light of what I hear from McLaren, it can be scary.”
Should Sauber scrap the deal, Honda may be left without any teams to supply in F1 next year as McLaren continues to deliberate its future engine partner.
McLaren has languished at the back of the grid for much of the season, leaving the relationship with Honda close to breaking point.
The British team has been linked with engine deals with Mercedes, Renault and even Ferrari for 2018 as it looks to move back up the grid, making it possible that Honda may have a year out of the sport if they too part ways and no other contracts are secured.