Honda has no intention of powering any other Formula One teams just yet, so long as the FIA doesn’t force its hand.
The Japanese automaker returned to F1 last season in partnership with McLaren, rekindling a relationship that brought domination in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and bringing to an end Honda’s six-year absence from the sport in the process. The door remains open to supplying another team in the future, but three years in, that future has yet to come.
That may be just as well considering the teething problems the new engine deal has faced. In 2015, the team finished second to last in the championship, having failed to get both its cars to the finish line at more races than it did. This season has gotten off to only an incrementally better start. Powering another team might allow Honda to double its development prospects, but would reportedly require McLaren’s approval.
The exclusivity of the McLaren-Honda arrangement came to light on Sunday, according to Autosport when the four engine manufacturers currently participating in the series submitted their tentative engine deals for next season. Renault is reportedly willing to continue supplying Red Bull with engines (which thew team has rebranded as TAG Heuer), and Mercedes is expected to continue motivating Williams, Force India, and Manor. If Ferrari powers the same teams it has this season in the next, that will take care of all the teams on the grid. However if one team is left out, the FIA could compel one of the engine suppliers to fill in – a situation which Honda apparently does not find ideal.