Honda expands UK base


Honda has expanded its UK F1 base leading to speculation that it is eyeing supplying a second team.

While the Japanese manufacturer currently only supplies McLaren in an exclusive deal which is understood to run out at the end of 2017, the expansion of its UK base in Milton Keynes suggests that Honda is already anticipating supplying its engines to other teams.

"We don't have any room to provide resources to another team but we should be that type of manufacturer," said boss Yusuke Hasegawa, according to Autosport. "We have to prepare more resources and organisation. Maybe at the end of next year we have to say that we are ready to prepare an engine for another team, so we will prepare the organisation.

"We've already built up the factory in Milton Keynes, a larger one," he added. It's not huge but it is big enough. So if we decided to prepare a second engine for a second team we just have to hire the people, the engineers. We have plenty of spare desks for them!"

Carlos Sainz, whose team was leapfrogged in the standings during the Faenza outfit's lean spell in the summer, believes Honda has significantly closed the gap to Ferrari's 2015-spec engine, Hasegawa agrees.

"It's a little bit better than the old Ferrari engine" he said, but when asked if it still lags behind the Renault he admitted: "Yes, I think so".

Asked if there has been interest from other teams, what with McLaren said to have veto over such a move the Japanese was giving little away.

"For the longer term, yes," he said. "Actually everybody is asking me if there's any possibility that Honda can supply an engine, but it's just chatting. From a concrete business point of view, no, we don't have anything."

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Published: 23/09/2016
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