Over the next few days, Sauber will hold talks with Ferrari over the prospect of Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc driving for the Hinwil-based outfit for 2018.
Sauber’s team principal, Frederic Vasseur, told Auto Motor und Sport that talking about its 2018 driver lineup would not have been appropriate when negotiating an engine deal with Ferrari, but confirmed that talks will begin soon: “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.”
As Marcus Ericsson has strong connections to Sauber’s financial backers, Longbow Finance, it appeared that it would be Pascal Wehrlein who would be replaced in the event of a Ferrari junior driver joining the squad.
Vasseur ruled this notion out however, and said that the team needs drivers who are quick as opposed to drivers who have the right connections: “It would be a mistake to build a team around a driver just because he has a connection to the owner,” he said.
“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,” he added.
“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.”