Ferrari CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne hopes that next year’s new Formula 1 engine deal with Sauber will allow the Italian marque to give junior drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc a chance to step into a full-time seat.
Sauber announced ahead of last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix that it had canceled its planned technical partnership with Honda in favor of a new engine deal with Ferrari, starting in 2018.
Ferrari currently has 2016 GP2 runner-up Giovinazzi – who entered two races for Sauber at the start of the year – and runaway Formula 2 leader Leclerc on its books, but no real locations for them to land in F1.
While Haas has run both drivers in practice thanks to its technical partnership with Ferrari, the American team intends to keep Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen on its books for 2018.
However, Marchionne sees the Sauber deal as a way for Ferrari to secure some room for its young drivers on the F1 grid, as explained to Italian media over the Hungary weekend.
“It’s a very positive thing. It’s a way to create a kind-of junior team,” Marchionne said.
“We have a pair of exceptional drivers we need to run, but we need space for them.
“It’s a great idea, and we are working on it.”
Sauber currently fields Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein in F1, the latter being part of Mercedes’ junior program, making his place with the team beyond 2018 unclear in light of the increased Ferrari deal.
Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.
During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.
That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.
This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.
Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.
“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”
Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.