Honda expands UK base in preparation for potential second engine supply
Honda has expanded its UK engine factory with a view to supplying more teams in F1.
The Japanese brand has its European engine base in Milton Keynes, which works in tandem with its main R&D facility in Tochigi, Japan.
Honda’s F1 head Yusuke Hasegawa said work had been completed to expand the UK facility in preparation to allow the firm to supply power units to other teams in the future.
While Honda has an exclusivity deal with Mclaren, it is allowed to hold talks with other interested parties and was thought to have been close to agreeing a deal with Red Bull for this year. However, Mclaren is believed to have a veto option to block such deals should it wish.
Hasegawa said: “We don’t have any room to provide any resources to another team, but we should be that type of manufacturer. We have to prepare more resources and more organisation.
“We’ve already built up the factory in Milton Keynes, a larger one. It’s not huge, but it is big enough. So if we decide to prepare a second engine for a second team we just have to hire the people, the engineers. We have plenty of spare desks for them!”
While Hasegawa said there had been no firm requests for a Honda supply deal outside Mclaren for 2017, he said initial approaches had been made.
When asked if any of the interested parties came from Mclaren’s rivals, Hasegawa added: “For the longer term, yes. Actually everybody is asking me if there’s any possibility that Honda can supply an engine, but it’s just chatting. From a concrete business point of view we don’t have anything.”