While the 2018 Formula 1 driver market has been nowhere near as volatile as expected given the extensions for Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, some questions were left unanswered following the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.
Besides the one remaining seat at Williams alongside Lance Stroll, Sauber was still yet to confirm either of its 2018 drivers, with three candidates being in contention.
Ferrari was known to be keen on placing both its outstanding junior drivers, Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, at Sauber for 2018 as part of an expanded technical partnership with the team.
Sauber, meanwhile, had Marcus Ericsson angling for a seat despite not scoring any points in either of the last two seasons, relying heavily on his links to the team’s owners.
Sauber announced earlier this week it would be racing as ‘Alfa Romeo Sauber’ in 2018, heralding the return of the Alfa Romeo name to F1 after more than 30 years.
Despite the stronger links to Ferrari, the Italian manufacturer was unable to get its way, with Sauber confirming Leclerc and Ericsson at its launch on Saturday.
With this confirmation, just one seat remains on the F1 grid for 2018 as Williams continues to consider who will replace Felipe Massa and partner Lance Stroll next year.
Formula 1 2018 – Drivers and Teams
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen
Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen
Force India: Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon
Williams: Lance Stroll, TBA
Toro Rosso: Pierre Gasly, Brendon Hartley
Renault: Carlos Sainz Jr., Nico Hulkenberg
Haas: Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen
McLaren: Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
Sauber: Marcus Ericsson, Charles Leclerc