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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.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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