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Ericsson keeps seat at Sauber for 2018 alongside Leclerc

03 December 2017
Ericsson keeps seat at Sauber for 2018 alongside Leclerc

Charles Leclerc will make his Formula 1 debut next season after being confirmed alongside Marcus Ericsson in Sauber's line-up.

F2 champion LeClerc had always been expected to make the jump to the pinnacle of motorsport.

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. However, Ericsson's close ties to Sauber owners Longbow Finance appear to have edged it.

Leclerc has risen rapidly through the single-seater ranks, winning the GP3 title a year ago before his F1 championship triumph this season.

Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi is the back-up driver. A plan to run Honda engines in 2018 was cancelled by new boss Frederic Vasseur. That was promptly followed by a deal with Ferrari for 2018.

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. The Italian vehicle manufacturer is making a return to the sport after 30-years to sponsor the team.

Ferrari's late founder Enzo also started out racing and managing a team for Alfa Romeo, before setting up on his own in the late 1930s.

"This agreement with the Sauber F1 team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand", Marchionne said earlier this week.