Banco do Brasil to end Sauber F1 sponsorship for 2017

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Sauber Formula 1 chief Monisha Kaltenborn has confirmed that Banco do Brasil will no longer sponsor the team in 2017.

Banco do Brasil became a sponsor of Sauber in 2015 when Felipe Nasr joined the team, having also backed the Brazilian racer during his time in GP2 and when he worked with Williams as a reserve driver.

Sauber confirmed earlier this week that Marcus Ericsson would take one of its F1 seats for 2017, with Nasr’s future remaining uncertain as Banco do Brasil waited to make a firm call on its sponsorship.

Following a statement issued to the Brazilian media saying Banco do Brasil would end its sponsorship with Sauber, Kaltenborn confirmed the news on Friday in the FIA press conference, but did not comment on what it meant for Nasr’s future.

“That’s correct that the bank informed us as well that they’ve interrupted their 2017 sponsorship program,” Kaltenborn said.

“Our seat is still open. We aren’t choosing that in our assessments we’re making and that’s all there is to say of it.”

Mercedes youngster Pascal Wehrlein is thought to be leading the chase for the second seat at Sauber, having raced for Manor throughout 2016.

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff confirmed in the press conference that he was in talks with both teams about a possible drive for Wehrlein in 2017, and that no decision had been made.

“We are in discussion with Monisha, and in discussion with Stephen [Fitzpatrick, Manor boss] and his management group and nothing is decided yet,” Wolff said.

“That’s where we are.”