A Honda-powered F1 ‘B-team’ would be a viable option, providing it does not distract from the Japanese manufacturer’s partnership with McLaren, according to Eric Boullier.
Rumours have circulated for some time that Honda may seek to collaborate with another team in order to advance the development of its new powerunits, with many industry insiders believing that leading GP2 team ART Grand Prix were planning to step up to F1 as a McLaren-Honda customer squad.
However, while additional race mileage and on-track data would certainly help Honda to speed up its development race and make up the difference to its rivals (Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault), Boullier has played down the prospect.
Speaking to Autosport, the McLaren Racing Director commented: “”I’m not sure we would like to pay the price of having a distraction within Honda or giving some focus to this. We have to balance things; we are thinking, and we are talking, and we are brainstorming.”
The Frenchman also made a clear suggestion that the Woking outfit is looking to retain its existing driver line up of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso for the 2016 season, despite ongoing speculation about the team’s protégé pairing of Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen.
“Both have credibility, and that is very important. When each of them says something, everybody is listening and everybody is trusting them to the point where they will try to fix it. That’s a big change.”
“If you have two junior drivers, you will be tempted to teach them what to do rather than listening to what they want. When you are in the situation where we are now, it’s good that Honda and McLaren listen to drivers. They give the guidance from the past on where we need to go.”