Sergio Marchionne has admitted that the Sauber F1 Team could become a junior team for Ferrari. This follows the confirmation of Haas F1’s driver lineup, with Gian Carlo Minardi saying that it was “a missed opportunity for Ferrari,” as the Italian team could have used the American outfit as a B team to install its own drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc.
Sauber will be a Ferrari Junior Team – Sergio Marchionne
This changed at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix however, when Sauber decided to end its scheduled engine deal for 2018 with Honda, instead renewing its current contract with Ferrari for next season which will see it use up to date power units from the Italian team.
“The engines for Sauber are also a way to create a kind of junior team for our young drivers,” said Sergio Marchionne in Hungary. “We have two great young talents, but to secure the future of Ferrari, we need the chance to train them somewhere. We need space for them, so it’s a great idea and we’re working on it.”
“Maurizio Arrivabene has worked hard on this project, and I want to say also that in agreement with Liberty Media we will also increase the number of customers for our engines,” he added.
Between Leclerc who is currently dominating Formula 2, and Giovinazzi who had a more than impressive debut in GP2 last year which saw him take the championship fight to Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly, Giovinazzi would be the preferred candidate for the seat at Sauber.
“They tell me Giovinazzi did a great job for us, driving here [for Haas] on Friday and then on Friday night returning to be in the simulator,” said Marchionne. “He worked late to make sure there was no mistake in balancing the car. He’s back here [in Hungary] with us now and I see that quite rightly he is tired.”
Marchionne also admitted that he had a meeting with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff where they talked about the German car giant’s entry into Formula E. The CEO of Ferrari also responded to Wolff’s claim that Ferrari was only strong in Hungary due to high temperatures and the low speed nature of the Hungaroring.
“We do not minimise the work of our guys,” he said, “but there are two fast circuits in Spa and Monza coming up, so we’ll see there.”