Sauber could become Honda Formula 1 customer in 2017

Sauber is in the running to become the second team to be powered by Honda in Formula 1 alongside McLaren, but not until 2017 at the earliest

Sauber could become Honda Formula 1 customer in 2017

Speculation arose over the course of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that Sauber could do a deal with Honda, and understands talks have taken place between the two parties.

A deal for 2016 is not possible because Sauber has a contract in place with Ferrari, while McLaren Technology Group CEO Ron Dennis explained last weekend "it was not physically possible" to increase the supply of parts .

When asked about the possibility of a deal with Sauber for 2017, a McLaren source confirmed to that talks had taken place and admitted it could be possibility.

It is understood a Sauber-Honda tie-up would be purely a customer deal, with the Swiss team paying for its engines.

When asked by about the possibility of a Honda deal over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn denied talks had taken place.

"I have not spoken to Honda and as far as I know they have not spoken to me," she said.

"This is a typical thing - something is taken out of context and twisted into something, and people try to make it a sensational story, which it really is not."

On the subject of Honda supplying a second team, Dennis - who took responsibility for blocking a possible tie-up with Red Bull for the Japanese manufacturer - said supplying a second team too soon would slow Honda's ability to catch up to its rivals.

"The more engines you have to make, the more your supply chain gets stressed," he said.

"We're in catch-up mode - the more people you have to carry with you the slower your reaction time.

"To slow down our own ability to become competitive didn't make any sense."

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