Honda has indicated it is inching towards being ready to supply more teams with engines in formula one.
Until now, McLaren has been unwilling to budge on its apparent exclusive contract with the Japanese carmaker, despite the fact there is pressure on Honda from the FIA to become a customer supplier too.
Asked if it is ready to supply a customer, Honda’s Yusuke Hawegawa was quoted by the Spanish daily Marca: “Not right now, but by the end of next season we could be ready for that option.”
He said there have been plenty of enquiries from other teams, but no “serious” negotiations.
It may be that Honda is keen to add a second team to its roster in order to better assess the current collaboration with McLaren.
For instance, Toro Rosso looked very competitive in Singapore, despite the fact it is currently using a year-old Ferrari.
“I have not analysed the data,” Hasegawa said, “but if it’s true, then it means that the Toro Rosso chassis is very good.
“We believe that the Honda engine is a little better than the old Ferrari engine, so I guess the chassis was better adapted to the track.”
The Swiss newspaper Blick said the most realistic candidate to become the second Honda team is Sauber.