Report: Sauber to use McLaren gearbox

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn arrives at the Marina Bay Street circuit for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix on September 18, 2014
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Sauber look set to work closely with both McLaren and Honda in 2018 and beyond.

Sauber look set to work closely with both McLaren and Honda in 2018 and beyond.

Long rumours that the Swiss team are becoming Honda's first power unit 'customer' were finally confirmed at Sochi.

"I expect a closer collaboration with Honda than with Ferrari," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Speed Week. "But maybe the comparison is a little unfair.

"For us it is another form of cooperation."

Indeed, Auto Motor und Sport reports that in addition to the Honda power unit, Sauber - having stopped producing their own gearbox after the BMW era - will also use the entire McLaren transmission and rear end from 2018.

McLaren's Eric Boullier says that everyone will benefit.

"With two [Honda] teams, development will be faster," he said.

Fernando Alonso also sounded positive, telling Spain's Movistar: "It's good news for Sauber, and good for Honda to have another team as well."

It is also reported that the McLaren-Honda deal will cost Sauber significantly less money from 2018.

"The negotiations were a long process," Kaltenborn revealed. "As well as some engineers, I've travelled to Japan since the first talks took place last year."

In fact, she admits that one possibility is that Sauber will also take a driver from Honda for 2018.

"It's too early to say that," Kaltenborn said, "but if you enter into such a partnership, it is a duty to look at all possibilities.

"The bottom line is that the responsibility of the race team is to have the best drivers possible."

Sauber have yet to pick up a point so far this season.

Pascal Wehrlein arrives in the paddock before final practice for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 19, 2015
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