Ferrari hopeful of placing Leclerc, Giovinazzi at Sauber

Scuderia Ferrari
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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.