Ericsson keeps seat at Sauber for 2018 alongside Leclerc

Sauber has confirmed Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc will race alongside Marcus Ericsson next year, while also unveiling the new livery for its partnership with Alfa Romeo.

He'll have a new partner for the season, with Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc stepping up to make his F1 race début in Melbourne. However, Ericsson's close ties to Sauber owners Longbow Finance appear to have edged it.

Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi is the back-up driver.

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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. While Sauber is not a competitive team and Leclerc will likely struggle to score points by finishing races in the top 10, this will be a great opportunity for him to showcase his driving talent to some of the sport's top teams. A plan to run Honda engines in 2018 was cancelled by new boss Frederic Vasseur. They have linked up with Alfa Romeo, who will become their title sponsor, for the 2018 season in a deal that marks a return to F1 for the Italian firm after a 30-year absence. The deal is understood to include an agreement for it to take at least one of Ferrari's young drivers next season.

The decision leaves German driver Pascal Wehrlein, Ericsson's team-mate this year, facing an uncertain future.

Instead, the team will use Ferrari power elements badged with the iconic Alfa Romeo brand.

  • Regina Walsh