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Honda talking to "various teams"

NEWS STORY
29/04/2017

If ever the meme 'places I would rather be' was applicable, it was the FIA press conference (Part 1), where Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights as he sat alongside Renault's Nick Chester and Ferrari's Luigi Fraboni, who were both guaranteed a far easier ride.

After all, shortly beforehand it was confirmed that Stoffel Vandoorne has the proud distinction of being the first driver this year to receive an engine penalty.

As the Japanese was asked about his company's future in the sport and whether it might be best to simply admit defeat and walk away - as it has done before - and whether an all new engine for 2017 was a mistake, he looked understandably uncomfortable.

And then, following weeks (months?) of rumours he was asked if Honda is looking to supply additional teams.

"From the start of this Formula One activity, we committed to support this Formula One society, so from that point of view it is duty and we have to support multiples teams," he said.

"Also we are thinking it will give us some benefit to have multiple teams as we will have more data and more chance to make the car running, so we don't deny to have a second or third team."

While the most likely partner is Sauber - let's face it, the likes of Haas, Williams and Force India will not be forming a queue - he was unwilling to name names.

"We are talking to various teams but at this moment unfortunately we have nothing to say here," he insisted.

As for the whole new engine being a mistake...

"I don't think we made a complete mistake from last year's performance," he said. "We knew that we have to change everything, not only the package but also the combustion, so we tried to modify all areas.

"Some areas we succeeded, to reduce the weight and lower the COG, but yeah, definitely we couldn't get enough power from the combustion. So, yeah, it is just an excuse, but we still need time. But we don't think we made a huge mistake, the direction was right."

Asked about progress so far this season, he added: "Obviously we didn't satisfy. We are very much disappointed with our current situation. But because the base concept is correct, we believe we can make good progress in the middle of the season."

And as for admitting defeating and walking away...

"Stopping the Formula One activity gave us huge damage of the technology catch-up," he said, referring to the previous time the Japanese manufacturer quit the sport, "so that we really need to keep this activity for longer.

"At this moment our board is very much committed to this activity and, yeah, they are very supportive," he insisted. "It's no problem at all."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Sochi, here.

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