Sources in Japan have revealed a difference in opinion between the board members of Honda and Honda’s Motorsport manager Masashi Yamamoto.
It is likely that conclusions about Honda’s involvement in F1 will be decided this week. However, it is said that the formal announcement will not be held before the Singapore GP.
“Prior to coming to the Italian Grand Prix, I have had numerous meetings in Japan” says Yamamoto.
“Including a meeting with members of McLaren and I have repeatedly talked with Mr. Yago Takahiro, (Honda’s President) discussing the various options we have before us”
Initially, it was rumoured that decision time for Honda would be after the Italian GP set at 18:00 on 3rd September. Honda would supply Toro Rosso with a power unit and McLaren use the Renault that Toro Rosso used. Unfortunately Honda couldn’t arrive on a decision after several meetings during the Grand Prix between Honda, Renault, the FIA and FOM.
Yamamoto has also revealed to the Japanese media that from his opinion Honda won’t leave F1. Furthermore he confirms that other teams want to race with Honda’s Power Unit but the Honda board members are somewhat opposed to this. In fact the board say that they accept Honda’s F1 project but only with McLaren and that’s why Honda refused to supply power units with Toro Rosso and RedBull mooted back in August. If they can’t continue collaboration with McLaren, there is a possibility that the board members will put a veto to the engine swap with Toro Rosso’s Renault with the obvious consequence that Honda would withdraw from F1 altogether.
Rather strangely and perhaps further cementing evidence of the board’s opinion of their relationship with McLaren, it has been requested by the board that Senna era Mclaren-Honda images should be used for an up and coming Honda advertisement campaign.
So it seems then from Honda’s point of view (for now), it’s McLaren or bust.