After a disastrous two weeks of testing, the Honda power units didn’t look they’d last a Grand Prix distance. Terrible reliability and embarrassing performance from the power unit meant that Alonso had to retire in the first race at Australia.
McLaren have been the sole customer team of Honda for the last two seasons which means Honda have had far less data from running their engines compared to the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. Sauber on the other hand are running 2016 Ferrari engines. Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal, Sauber Formula One team stated at the end of last year that this decision was not based on cost. She pressed on the fact that the decision was made from a technical point of view. But it is no secret that the year old engines are much more economical.
Sauber are rumoured to have held talks with both Mercedes and Honda as potential engine suppliers for 2018. Monisha was quoted saying,”All I can tell you is yes we have had discussions with them. But we are open on our engine situation.I think we have a couple of options. We know that a call has to be made soon. We know that, and of course the sooner you have clarity, the better for development.”
The FIA mandates engine suppliers to notify the FIA of the teams they wish to supply by May 6. Hence an announcement might be expected sometime this month regarding Sauber’s power unit supplier for next year.
They are likely to get a heavy price cut if they run the Honda engines next year. Honda will be looking to get as much data possible to speed up the development of their power u\nit. Hence a deal which pleases both parties and also McLaren might be put in place and agreed upon quite soon.