Pascal Wehrlein denies Sauber deal is done yet

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YAS MARINA, Abu Dhabi -- Pascal Wehrlein says there is no truth in media reports he has agreed to drive for Sauber next season.

Sauber is yet to confirm Marcus Ericsson's teammate for next season, though news overnight that Banco do Brasil is stopping its sponsorship of Felipe Nasr led to reports in German media on Friday that Wehrlein had agreed a deal. Wehrlein is still a Mercedes driver but, having been overlooked by Force India, he is yet to have his contract at Manor extended.

At his media session after Friday practice, Wehrlein was asked about the rumours but said his future plans are still unconfirmed.

"Yeah, it's not true," he said. "There's no news. There's still talks and discussions going on and of course with both teams because they are the only teams with a seat left for next year. Many people asked me today about if it's true that I signed and no, it's not true. It's not good that people write something like that when it's not true. If it would be true we would confirm that."

The loss of Banco do Brasil sponsorship was also reported from Abu Dhabi, with the company reportedly cutting ties with Nasr this week. Monisha Kaltenborn confirmed the news on Friday but said it had no impact on the team's negotiations.

"Well, that's correct that the bank informed us that they've interrupted their 2017 sponsorship programme," she said. "Our seat is still open. We aren't choosing that in our assessments we're making and that's all there is to say of it."

Nasr did not confirm or deny the loss of sponsorship but insisted he has not given up hopes of keeping his seat at Sauber.

"Well, I haven't got anything yet," he said. The negotiations are still going on, that's the most important. My head is here this weekend, I cannot think about future now. We have tenth place to confirm this weekend so we can't lose our heads yet on other things, we're not focused on other things. We need a strong race here to finally celebrate those two points."

When asked if he was confident the talks would continue after the race, the Brazilian driver replied: "Yes, on Monday we can talk about it."