New Sauber chief Vasseur's priority is potentially ‘scary’ Honda

New Sauber Formula 1 team principal Frederic Vasseur says his first job will be sorting out what to do about Honda because McLaren's situation has been 'scary'

New Sauber chief Vasseur's priority is potentially ‘scary’ Honda

Although Sauber and Honda have announced a partnership from 2018, the fate of the deal has been thrown into doubt with sources suggesting this week it would not be going ahead.

That is because the final contract on the deal has not been signed off - and Sauber's owners are weighing up the possibility of using the more competitive Mercedes or Ferrari engines instead.

Ex-Renault chief Vasseur was announced as Sauber's new team boss, as well as its managing director and CEO, on Wednesday.

Speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe, he said that he needed first to focus on what to do about the 2018 engine situation, as he is aware the performance of the Japanese manufacturer has hurt McLaren in recent years.

"The Honda question is on the table - it's the first one I'm going to work on," he said.

"We need to take care of this quickly.

"In light of what I hear from McLaren, it can be scary."

Vasseur says he has been given a mandate from Sauber's owners Longbow Finance to lift the team back up the grid, and has been promised resources to achieve that.

"I've got the means to revamp the team and put it back in the points on a regular basis," he said. "It's exciting.

"Longbow is investing a large budget in the project.

"They've got a precise plan over several years.

"I have free rein to run this project.

"The team is motivated and has often proved its skills in the past."

Vasseur also suggested it would be the wrong approach for his team to be wholly linked with Marcus Ericsson, despite his backers being involved in financing the outfit.

"You can't link the project of a team to a driver," he said. "It's not healthy.

"If Marcus wants to have a career, which I do not doubt, and wants to win races quickly, he'll probably have other ambitions than [to be at] Sauber.

"The team might want other drivers, too. For now, there are two converging projects that make sense and allow us to run together. Nobody feels tied.

"I'll make the final decision on the drivers. Sauber's goal is to bet on the future with young drivers."

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