Ferrari mulling a full junior driver 2018 line-up at Sauber
Ferrari is in negotiations with Sauber to place not one, but both its top junior drivers with the Swiss outfit next season.
With Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc no longer having anything to prove in the lower echelons of racing, Ferrari considers both its protégés are ready for the big time.
With Sauber the only available opportunity to graduate the Scuderia's hopefuls, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene traveled to Hinwil last week along with Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne to discuss a potential Giovinazzi/Leclerc line-up.
"We need space because we have a couple of young drivers that are exceptional,"said Marchionne.
"We need to find a place to lay the foundations for the Scuderia Ferrari of tomorrow."
Sauber team boss Fred Vasseur has expressed his interest in running either junior driver with the support of Ferrari, the team's technical partner although he cast aside the notion that the Swiss squad will be the Scuderia's de facto 'B' team.
Ferrari's plans obviously put into doubt the future of Sauber's current drivers.
While Pascal Wehrlein's chances of racing in F1 next year are quickly fading, it was believed that Marcus Ericsson would retain his seat given the close relationship the Swede enjoys with his benefactors Longbow Financial, which also own Sauber.
Ferrari appears to favour a grouped apprenticeship for Giovinazzi and Leclerc, a state of affairs which would perhaps help the Scuderia judge its young talent more clearly.
Posted 16 September 2017 - 13:47
Posted 21 September 2017 - 15:27
Charles Leclerc to set for FP1 sessions
21 September 2017
The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to confirm that Charles Leclerc will be in the cockpit of the Sauber C36-Ferrari during four free practice sessions ahead of the upcoming 2017 Formula One Grand Prix. Leclerc, the current leader in this year’s F2 series, will be participating in FP1 sessions during the race weekends in Malaysia, US, Mexico and Brazil.
At the Malaysian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc will be driving the Sauber C36-Ferrari for the first time in FP1 on Friday at the Sepang International Circuit. Regular driver Marcus Ericsson will take over the car from FP2 onwards.
Posted 25 September 2017 - 17:05
VASSEUR ADMITS MARCUS ERICSSON COULD LEAVE SAUBER
Frederic Vasseur says Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein is still in the running to stay at Sauber next year. Earlier, German Wehrlein seemed resigned to losing his seat with the Swiss team, as Sauber looks to accommodate a junior promoted by engine supplier Ferrari.
But it could be Marcus Ericsson who has to give way, despite the Swede's solid links to the Sauber team owners. But boss Vasseur told Auto Motor und Sport: "It would be a mistake to build a team around a driver just because he has a connection to the owners."
Ericsson has therefore been linked with a switch to Williams for 2018. Vasseur continued: "Rebuilding Sauber will require patience, while drivers normally want results in the next race. So if he wants to sit in a podium car next year, he will have a problem with Sauber. We will talk with the owners about what is best for Marcus and the team," said the Frenchman.
Asked if that means Wehrlein still has a chance of staying in 2018, Vasseur answered: "Of course he has a chance. Pascal knows our situation, and I know his skills because we worked together in the DTM. If you want to rebuild a team, you need not only fast drivers, but those who are willing to work with the team and push it in the right direction," he added.
As for at least one of the 2018 cockpits, Vasseur hinted that a Ferrari-linked driver like Charles Leclerc is likely. "We will discuss this with Ferrari in the coming days," he said. "For us, the engine choice had priority and we did not want to mix that with the driver question. It would have taken too much time. There is now the opportunity to do that in peace," added Vasseur.
Posted 31 October 2017 - 14:52
Sauber has reportedly decided to drop Pascal Wehrlein from its 2018 driver lineup.
Earlier, amid rumours the Swiss team wanted to keep at least one of its existing drivers next year, it appeared it could be Marcus Ericsson that is shown the door.
But the Swede has strong ties to Sauber's new owners, and Blick newspaper now claims Ericsson is indeed definitely staying in 2018.
He looks set to be joined by Monaco-born Charles Leclerc, a junior driver for Sauber's engine partner Ferrari and the new GP2 champion.
Roger Benoit, the well-connected Blick correspondent, claims the announcement of Leclerc, 20, joining Ericsson at Sauber will be made "in November".
German Wehrlein's future is therefore clouded, with his Mercedes backing said to be running out and only an outside chance of a switch to Williams.
"I have no news yet on this side," the 23-year-old said last weekend in Mexico.
"But there are some discussions going on for next year and I hope we can fix something soon."
Posted 01 November 2017 - 07:25
Pametna odluka. Verlajn nije impresionirao nijednog momenta i ne zasluzuje mesto u F1.
Posted Yesterday, 18:57
Sauber set to reveal 2018 line-up amid Alfa Romeo rumours
By: Roberto Chinchero, Journalist
Sauber is poised to finally confirm its 2018 driver line-up at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as rumours swirl that the team could even bring the Alfa Romeo name back to Formula 1 as part of a stronger alliance with Ferrari.
With the Swiss outfit keen to forge closer ties with its Maranello-based partner, it has been clear for some time that it would hand one of its race seats to F2 champion and Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc.
However, the decision on its second seat has been much tougher to nail down, with Ferrari weighing up whether or not to place its other junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi there as well.
Against that background, Sauber's owners – who have close links to Marcus Ericsson – have been considering whether or not they would prefer to commit to the Swedish racer for another season.
Although there have been growing indications that the team was edging closer sticking with Ericsson, a final call would be made only after sign off from Ferrari.
And it has emerged that part of Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne's thinking for how to take the partnership with Sauber forwards, has included the idea of a rebranding of its customer engines as Alfa Romeo.
Marchionne has long talked about his desire to bring the Alfa Romeo name back to F1, and with Sauber eager to embrace a long-term future with Ferrari, there is an opportunity to try to do something with the Swiss outfit.
Late last year, Marchionne even suggested that key to a possible Alfa Romeo project was it becoming linked with Ferrari's junior drivers.
"Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers," he told Italian media.
"The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find room. Alfa Romeo, more than our customer teams, could offer them that space."
Whether or not such a tie-up is possible as early as 2018, or longer term, is unclear at the moment but, should Marchionne give the sign off, then it would be a huge boost to Sauber in terms of its global branding.
With the iconic name and its famous four-leafed clover back in F1, there would be great opportunities to tie up fresh sponsorship interest as Sauber goes about ramping up its effort.
In the end, though, for all the advantages that Sauber knows it would get from such a deal, the final say will rest on whether or not Marchionne wants to throw his weight behind the Alfa Romeo commitment – especially amid such delicate times with F1's owners Liberty Media.