Honda tight-lipped on Sauber reports for 2018 engine supply
McLaren's suppliers say they have a "responsibility" to supply other F1 teams too; Sauber have said Honda & Mercedes are 2018 options
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 31/03/17 6:57pm
Honda are remaining tight-lipped on reports they are set to supply Sauber with engines for 2018, although acknowledged they have a "responsibility" to provide more than one team in F1.
A fresh round of reports following the Australian GP have suggested McLaren's suppliers are set to branch out into their first customer supply deal since their return to F1 in 2015. The Sun have reported Honda are "poised to announce a deal" with Sauber for next season, which would replace the Swiss team's long-time agreement with Ferrari.
Honda declined to comment on the Sauber reports.
A spokesperson told Sky Sports: "We have always maintained that Honda is open to supplying multiple teams and discussions have taken place.
"As a power unit supplier, we have a responsibility for the good of the sport and fans to provide power units to multiple teams."
Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn confirmed in Melbourne the team were considering their engine options for 2018, telling motorsport.com that Honda and Mercedes were alternative options to Ferrari.
Speculation that Honda could supply Sauber comes amid uncertainty over the long-term future of the Japanese manufacturer's partnership with McLaren after another troubled start to the season.
McLaren have confirmed they are considering "all options" with Honda in a bid to turn their situation around, following reports they have sounded out Mercedes about a possible engine supply.
Whereas Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault all have three teams on their F1 engine programmes, McLaren is Honda's only client.
Meanwhile, Sauber are yet to confirm whether Pascal Wehrlein will return to his F1 race seat for next week's Chinese GP after pulling out of the Australian GP for fitness reasons after Friday practice in Melbourne.
Italian Ferrari third driver Antonio Giovinazzi stepped in to Wehrlein's seat from Saturday onwards and performed impressively, nearly making Q2 on his F1 debut and finishing the race.
Sky Sports in Italy understands the situation for China is not yet clear-cut, with the possibility that Giovinazzi could also appear for Haas in Friday practice sessions in 2017 after having a seat fit in the American team's car.
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