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Sauber 'open to anything' with new Honda Formula 1 partnership

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says the Formula 1 team is "open to anything" in its new-for-2018 partnership with Honda

Honda will expand its F1 engine programme next season with Sauber, which is making the switch from year-old Ferrari power units.

While Honda's current deal with McLaren is essentially limited to engine supply, Sauber has the scope to forge a technical alliance beyond that.

Work on chassis research and development helped Honda train engineers at its Japanese base during its last works stint in F1, while Sauber has high-quality facilities in Switzerland from its time under BMW ownership.

"We'll see how it all pans out," Kaltenborn told Autosport of further collaboration. "We're really at the beginning now.

"I don't know their deals with McLaren. We are a very different project and we'll see where we can benefit from each other in this.

"We've been in situations where we were a manufacturer team, we're not a manufacturer team now, we're a customer to them.

"But we know that there are a lot of opportunities there, and this is one of the reasons why we decided for this partnership.

"It's far too early to say we'll be doing this and that but, yes, we're open to anything."

Sauber could also provide a platform for Honda's junior drivers to enter F1, such as Formula 2 racer Nobuharu Matsushita.

Toyota World Endurance Championship racer Kamui Kobayashi was the last Japanese on the grid, racing with Sauber in 2010-12, taking his only podium result at Suzuka with the team.

"Like it always is in these cases, when you have a partner like this, whatever decisions you take, you discuss it with the partner," Kaltenborn added.

"We have done it no differently in the past, by the way. You listen to their opinions, you take advice.

"In the end it's the team's responsibility. We are actually the team that has the last podium finish with a Japanese driver, and it was also in Japan.

"So that puts us in a very unique situation."

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