Sauber to continue with Ferrari after splitting from Honda

2018 F1 season

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Sauber has announced it will use Ferrari engines in 2018, one day after confirming its split from intended supplier Honda.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur said a new “multi-year” deal had been agreed with its current supplier. In a change from this season, the team will revert to using current-specification power units instead of year-old examples.

“I am very pleased to confirm that we will continue to work with Scuderia Ferrari as our engine supplier in form of a multi-year agreement,” said Vasseur.

“The shared experience between the Sauber F1 Team and Ferrari has built a strong foundation, which will allow us to move forward swiftly and efficiently, also in terms of the development of the 2018 car.”

“I am convinced that together we can achieve the results which reflect the passion and determination that is, and always has been, behind the Sauber F1 Team.”

Sauber had announced in April it would become Honda’s second team alongside McLaren in 2018. However shortly afterwards it split from team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. Vassuer took over her role last week, and yesterday the team announced it had scrapped the plan to use Honda power units.

Ferrari became Sauber’s engine supplier for the first time in 1997 and has been for the majority of seasons since then, except during Sauber’s ownership by BMW from 2006 to 2009.

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Keith Collantine
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26 comments on “Sauber to continue with Ferrari after splitting from Honda”

  1. With year old PU and no in-season developments? I don’t see the point, unless……

    1. I don’t think they will have to get the old engine tough @baron, It probably all depends on the money they are willing to pay. And the process of building the car for a completely new engine might be so much more complex, that it saves some money to stay with Ferrari too.

    2. They have confirmed it will be the 2018 spec

      1. So Sauber, who couldn’t afford 2017 engines this year, has now got the funding to purchase Ferrari 2018 engines?

        1. Maybe they’re getting a very large discount for it if they have Ferrari junior drivers?

        2. Remember, their deal for the old engines was made more or less during finalising of the purchase @drycrust. Also, last year the year old Ferrari that STR was running was quite solid at the start of the year, I think Sauber hoped for something similar (where the new spec had quite a few issues) to get some points in early. They did not expect Ferrari to make as good a step forward with it as they did for 2017.

    3. pastaman (@)
      28th July 2017, 12:05

      The very third sentence in the article:

      In a change from this season, the team will revert to using current-specification power units instead of year-old examples.

  2. Gavin Campbell
    28th July 2017, 8:58

    I still don’t really get this, the team are struggling for finance and backers. However if they took a risk on Honda for a few years surely it comes with a junior driver with funds, very cheap engines and the real possibility that McLaren throws the towel in and you end up with a works deal.

    They are the 3rd string Ferrari team now after the works effort and Haas who have a deep technical partnership. They are currently using last years engines on the cheap and they are struggling to beat McLaren.

    Surely they would hoover up some McLaren parts – gearboxes, suspension etc. alongside the Honda deal and it works well for both parties.

    1. Just goes to show how bad Honda is. Even the possibility of being a works team in the future, and getting assistance from mclaren, isn’t enough to dump that garbage bin of a power unit in the back of a car.

    2. I think it is both the combination of getting a proven top engine, combined with not having to completely overhaul the car cooling, layout of bits and learning how to work together AND the prospect of getting a decent discount for running a Ferrari young driver did the trick for them @Gavin.

      Also, don’t forget that it will be a greater risk for next year – McLaren surely can’t get worse, and Haas will be in the sport for its third year, so they will be getting money from all packages (so far they get only some of it, since they are not long enough in the sport to get money for their championships from FOM). Both things mean that Sauber really needs to finish well to avoid losing more funding from being last again.

    3. It’s quite possible that Monisha Kaltenborn took a gamble on McLaren breaking off their partnership with Honda which would have left Sauber as the official partner with all of Honda’s (financial) resources at their back albeit at the cost of a Honda engine at the back of their cars.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        28th July 2017, 12:58

        Yep, seemed like a good roll of the dice at the time

    4. Gavin Campbell, given that the new owner of Sauber seems to view his team through a purely commercial lens, I wonder if this is a case of him trying to find a way to pump value into the team before hoping to then flog it off at a profit to a new owner.

  3. So Ericsson-Leclerc/Gio at Sauber then? Where does that leave Wehrlein for next season?

    1. Williams, probably. Or at Force India with Ocon moving to Williams.

      1. I think Mallya has said that Ocon is sticking with Force India next year (iirc).
        To me it is more likely that Wehrlein will be at Williams to replace Massa but I do not know if that
        is actually possible considering Martini’s rule of having a driver over 25?

    2. With the rate Gio is smashing into walls does any team want him?
      Must be close to 50% of his apperances this season.

  4. Leclerc needed in the Sauber then. Has to have a seat for next year. Ideally, Leclerc and Giovinazzi at Sauber, but Ericsson has the backing of the owners so…

    1. @hugh11
      Ericsson is a good benchmark anyway, and the continuity would be better for the team than having two rookies. He seems like a pretty solid driver these days.

  5. Glad they went with Ferrari. Formula 1 is currently a 3 tier championship, which would have become a 4 tier championship once Sauber went with Honda power.

  6. Anybody knows if Sauber will keep using a year old spec of the engine? (I can’t blame them though, still better than a current spec Honda which is a shame..)


    1. They’re switching to a current-year Ferrari engine, so should be faster than the present unit.

  7. McLaren Honda, The best of the rest in P1 in Hungary. Just 0.5 seconds behind Vettel.

    Early days, lets see what the rest of the weekend brings.

    1. Was pleased to see that. Long may it continue!

  8. I wonder if the discussions on potential new engine regulations may have given Sauber some extra bargaining / leverage to get a better deal out of Ferrari. With 3 Merc powered teams, 3 Renault, 3 Ferrari and 1 Honda it would give Ferrari an equal say to Merc an Renault on the definition of the new engine spec (any historical contractual clauses aside). Where as with 3 Merc, 3 Reneault, 2 Ferrari and 2 Honda they could be at a disadvantage and leaving Merc / Renault to lead the way.

  9. They should’ve switched to Mercedes power instead.

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