Yusuke Hasegawa admitted it was disappointing to see the Sauber F1 Team cancel the agreement they had with Honda for a customer engine supply for the 2018 Formula 1 season and beyond.
The Japanese manufacturer were hoping to add Sauber as a customer team alongside its programme with the McLaren F1 Team but after a change of management at the Hinwil-based outfit – Monisha Kaltenborn departed as team principal in favour of Frederic Vasseur – it was decided that the Swiss team would remain with Ferrari-power next season.
Hasegawa, the head of Honda’s F1 Project, had hoped that running a second team would give them more data as they look to bring their power unit up to scratch, with the Japanese manufacturer’s power unit currently well down on power compared to that seen at Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault.
“Of course it is very disappointing,” said Hasegawa to RACER. “Although it is a customer team program so it doesn’t hurt our program very much, but we still expected to get the opportunity to get our engine running more.
“We would have got more data and been able to make comparisons, so it is very disappointing. More than that, on the practical side, we had to stop the preparation. So it is very bad.”
Hasegawa also admitted he had very little warning of the deal with Sauber being called off, revealing that talks between the two parties were carried out by Honda motorsport manager Masashi Yamamoto, and that his own talks with Sauber technical director Jörg Zander were always positive.
“I wasn’t in the meetings, that was Yamamoto-san,” said Hasegawa. “Actually Jorg Zander and I were in very good communication all the time, so we both didn’t believe that we would have to stop this collaboration until the final moment.”