Vasseur took just an hour to cancel Honda deal

Date published: January 25 2018

Fred Vasseur took all of an hour to put an end to the Sauber-Honda deal, revealing he cancelled the deal an hour after signing on as Sauber’s team boss.

Last year Sauber announced that they would swap from Ferrari to Honda engines for the 2018 season.

But, when Vasseur was appointed as the new team boss, that deal was quickly brought to an end.

“I joined on July 17 at 9am, and the meeting was at 10am,” he explained Motorsport.com.

“For me it was important. It is never easy to change the engine supplier first, but Honda was not in a very good shape.

“Plus, and probably most important for me, was that we were linked to McLaren for the gearbox with absolutely no internal resources to do our own one.

“I was convinced, as I had some contacts at McLaren, that they would do their best to leave. So I could not be in a position to risk that.

“Imagine today if I had to request the Honda gearbox from McLaren. It would be an absolute nightmare.

“Being in the process of working on our 2018 car, we were not able to postpone the decision.”

Instead Vasseur worked to bring Sauber closer to Ferrari, resulting in the new Alfa Romeo deal.

Not only will Sauber race brand new Ferrari engines this season but the team will run under the Alfa Romeo logo while fielding promising Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc.

This has led to claims that Sauber are now Ferrari’s B-team. Vasseur says call them what you want, he just wants success for the team.

“What people call us doesn’t matter – nobody is taking care of whether we are a junior, or a customer,” he said. “We just have to build up something with them [Ferrari], based on a common approach and mutual agreement.

“We need to have a close relationship but I don’t want to buy the car of Ferrari because I want to keep the know-how.

“It we don’t do that, I will be in exactly the same position as we could be in today with the gearbox, and I want to avoid this kind of decision.”