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Honda quits Sauber F1 engine deal

Honda has reneged on its promise to supply Sauber with customer engines next year.

That is the sensational claim of Germany’s Auto Bild, fuelling speculation the hapless Japanese manufacturer could be about to quit formula one altogether.

That’s because the news coincides with speculation McLaren has looked into dropping its works Honda deal in order to switch to a customer engine supplied by Mercedes, Renault or even Ferrari.

But another victim looks set to be the small Swiss team Sauber, with Auto Bild saying the end of the Honda deal leaves them with “no engine” for 2018.

“Honda has dissolved the contract,” said the report.

Another reason for the Sauber-Honda split could be that the deal was brokered by Monisha Kaltenborn, who has since been ousted by the Swiss team’s new owners.

Since then, rumours of continuing ructions at Sauber have swirled.

Blick, the Swiss newspaper, reported that long-time Beat Zehnder could be named the new team boss, but in fact Sauber announced on Wednesday that the deal with former Renault chief Frederic Vasseur has finally been done.

“Frederic’s long and successful career in top level international motor sport speaks for itself,” said Sauber owner Pascal Picci.

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