Engine manufacturing firm Honda is set to expand its facilities at Milton Keynes with a view to potentially signing up a second team alongside McLaren in the future.
Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa said that at the moment they do not have any room to provide any extra resources to another team, though he believes they should be that type of manufacturer.
Hasegawa said: “We have to prepare more resources and organisation. Maybe at the end of next year we have to say that we are ready to prepare an engine for another team, so we will prepare the organisation.”
He emphasised that this did not mean that Honda was currently in active talks with any teams in the paddock about a possible engine supply deal, though he added that some informal conversations had taken place around the paddock.
Hasegawa continued: “Actually everybody is asking me if thereâs any possibility that Honda can supply an engine, but itâs just chatting. From a concrete business point of view, no, we donât have anything.”
In the short term, Honda says it is planning to spend its last three engine development tokens and introduce a final engine upgrade, possibly as early as Malaysia.
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button may receive the upgrade at different races, with Hasegawa eager to avoid taking an engine penalty at Hondaâs home race at Suzuka.
After that, Honda will be able to focus on finishing off the 2017-specification engine – although Hasegawa suggested that most of the work had been completed already.
“Actually we almost finished our development for this year,” he said, while deftly avoiding directly answering the question of how many people had been involved in the work up to now. I canât tell you the number of people but almost 80-90% are on next year already.