Sauber to continue with Ferrari engines in 2018 F1 season
Sauber-Ferrari to remain in partnership after all for 2018 in new multi-year deal after Swiss team cancel Honda plans; Does deal keep door open for McLaren-Mercedes reunion?
By James Galloway in Budapest
Last Updated: 01/08/17 9:15pm
Sauber will now continue to use Ferrari engines next season after ending plans to switch to Honda power in 2018.
Less than 24 hours after the cancellation of the Honda deal was made official, Sauber announced they had agreed a new multi-year contract with Ferrari which will see them revert to using the Scuderia's latest-specification power unit in 2018.
Sauber, ahead of only Honda-powered McLaren in the Constructors' Championship, have struggled this season with the 2016 version of Ferrari's engine.
There had been suggestions that Sauber might switch to Mercedes engines, but the continuation of their Ferrari deal theoretically keeps the door open for McLaren to reunite with their former providers if they manage to unpick their works Honda deal and the world champions agree to do a supply deal.
"I am very pleased to confirm that we will continue to work with Scuderia Ferrari as our engine supplier in form of a multi-year agreement," said new Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur of a partnership which started in 1997.
"The shared experience between the Sauber F1 Team and Ferrari has built a strong foundation, which will allow us to move forward swiftly and efficiently, also in terms of the development of the 2018 car.
"I am convinced that together we can achieve the results which reflect the passion and determination that is, and always has been, behind the Sauber F1 Team."
Early speculation in the Hungarian GP has suggested that the new deal may result in one of Ferrari's junior drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi or runaway F2 title leader Charles Leclerc, landing one of the Sauber seats for 2018.
While Ferrari third driver Giovinazzi stood in for Pascal Wehrlein at the season's opening two rounds, Leclerc is well known to Vasseur after the youngster drove for the Frenchman's ART team en-route to winning the GP3 title last year.
Wehrlein is a Mercedes-backed driver, but current team-mate Marcus Ericsson's backers are thought to be linked to Sauber's owners, making another season for the Swede highly likely.
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