Monisha Kaltenborn knows there is a lot of opportunity available to both her Sauber F1 Team and to their new engine partners Honda in 2018, and knows there is a lot of possibilities there for both parties to benefit from one another.
The Team Principal of the Hinwil-based outfit knows they are not going to enjoy the same kind of partnership as Honda do with the McLaren F1 Team, but as a customer outfit, Sauber can still work with the Japanese engine supplier to help both team and engine develop, and she is open to anything at this time to make this happen.
“We’ll see how it all pans out,” said Kaltenborn to Autosport. “We’re really at the beginning now. I don’t know their deals with McLaren. We are a very different project and we’ll see where we can benefit from each other in this.
“We’ve been in situations where we were a manufacturer team, we’re not a manufacturer team now, we’re a customer to them. But we know that there are a lot of opportunities there, and this is one of the reasons why we decided for this partnership.
“It’s far too early to say we’ll be doing this and that but, yes, we’re open to anything.”
Kaltenborn admits there is a possibility that Honda will request her team to place a Japanese driver in one of their seats, with Nobuharu Matsushita the most likely due to his time in the GP2 Series and now FIA Formula 2, but the Team Principal will be open to discussions with Honda about this.
It would not be the first time that Sauber have run a Japanese racer in recent years, with Kamui Kobayashi enjoying a three-year spell with the team between 2010 and 2012, which included a podium finish at Suzuka.
“Like it always is in these cases, when you have a partner like this, whatever decisions you take, you discuss it with the partner,” added Kaltenborn. “We have done it no differently in the past, by the way. You listen to their opinions, you take advice.
“In the end it’s the team’s responsibility. We are actually the team that has the last podium finish with a Japanese driver, and it was also in Japan. So that puts us in a very unique situation.”