The Sauber F1 team could be announcing a change to Honda engines next month. Currently, the team is using 2016-spec Ferrari engines because of budgetary constraints.
According to F1-life.net via The Drive, the Melbourne team will be announcing a change to Honda engines in April. The team stretched its cast limit so much so that it would have been forced to withdraw from the sport. Luckily, the team finished ahead of Manor F1 at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. The prize pool was able to keep them on the grid.
Sauber was forced to cut a deal with Ferrari for their outdated 2016 engines. This came at a huge discount, similar to how Scuderia Toro Rosso used Ferrari's 2015 engines for last season. However, considering the new 2017 rules, the use of older engines was too much of a handicap. Any chance to upgrade to a current spec engine is thus very welcome for the team.
Honda is Sauber's chance to remain relevant this season. It was already previously confirmed by the team's chief, Monisha Kaltenborn, that the Melbourne team is considering Honda and Mercedes as top alternatives for 2018 engine options.
McLaren also uses Honda engines and they have suffered since the start in 2015. Apparently, Honda promised them the world and only showed up with a globe. The Japanese automaker cannot be blamed for the bad situation because they do not get enough data compared to other engine suppliers.
If the Sauber F1 team will use Honda engines, they now have more access to more data. The new development program hopes to progress faster than before and deliver. This year could also be a make-or-break deal for the McLaren-Honda F1 pairing.
In another report by Sky Sports, Honda remains tight-lipped on the issue. The Japanese automaker acknowledged that they already have a responsibility to provide engines for more than one team. However, the car maker declined to comment on the report.
The Sauber F1 team need to work hard this season. However, with a newer engine, hopefully, they will do better. Will the Sauber-Honda team come true next year? That remains to be seen. Stay tuned for more Formula 1 news.