The Sauber F1 Team could still field both Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi in 2018, with one driver likely to be confirmed sooner rather than later.
Leclerc and Giovinazzi are both members of the fabled Ferrari Driver Academy, and the Italian team is looking to get both the Monegasque and Italian driver onto the Formula 1 grid next season, with both participating in free practice sessions with Ferrari-powered teams in 2017.
At least one of Ferrari’s youngsters will be part of the Sauber team next season as part of the deal to run with up-to-date Ferrari engines and gearboxes, and according to Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur, the decision of which will definitely be there is imminent, although the decision for the second driver is not one to be rushed.
“We know where we are, it’s not the first priority today to take a decision on our side,” said Vasseur on Motorsport.com. “We have a lot things to do on the table, but drivers will arrive quite soon.
“The deadline will be a week before Barcelona [testing], but at one stage we will have to take a decision. But we are not in a rush. I’m not too worried about the market, and the other drivers.
“We are discussing with Ferrari for the driver, and I think we will get one. Step by step. First we need to take one, and we have to discuss about the first one, and then we will discuss about the second one.”
With Ferrari interested in placing their young drivers at Sauber, this leaves current Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson on the verge of losing his drive despite links with main investors Longbow Finance, but Vasseur insists the team’s future is more important than any link between an investor and a driver.
“You know that the investment in Sauber is a huge one, and you can’t link the development of the company, with a driver’s project – on both sides, because a driver has to develop his own project, and when you’re a driver you want to get results next week, or at least max, say next year,” said Vasseur.
“When you are team you have a long-term view, and it’s more a two or three years project. It’s not easy to fit everything.
“Marcus is a good asset for the team, he’s experienced in F1, and we have a very good collaboration. We will discuss with all the drivers. I think we have a couple of drivers in contact so far. I will take a decision quite soon.”