Sauber: Too early to make call on 2018 F1 seat for Leclerc

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Sauber Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur believes it is too early to make a decision on a 2018 race seat for Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc despite his domination of the Formula 2 championship so far this season.

Leclerc, 19, won last year’s GP3 title before moving up to F2 where he currently enjoys a 59-point lead over nearest rival Oliver Rowland.

The Monegasque racer is widely tipped to move up to F1 next year with Sauber, the Swiss team having signed a technical partnership with Ferrari for 2018.

Leclerc is expected to take part in some free practice sessions towards the end of this season for Sauber, but team boss Vasseur thinks it is too early to make any firm decisions about a race seat.

“The [Ferrari] deal is based on the powertrain, which means it’s the engine and the gearbox and then we will discuss together the fact that we could extend the deal on another parameter for some other parts,” Vasseur said.

“On the driver point of view, I think that if it’s regarding Charles for example, I think he has to be focused on the Formula 2 championship, still a couple of races to go and it’s a bit too early to discuss about this.

“I hope we will have the discussion at some stage. But I think, to be honest, even for Charles, it’s a bit too early to put it on the table.”

Sauber currently races with Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein in F1, with the latter expected to depart at the end of the season given his ties to Ferrari’s biggest rival, Mercedes.