Sauber confirms new Ferrari engine deal

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HUNGARORING -- Sauber has reached an agreement with Ferrari to run up-to-date engines next year after signing a multi-year agreement with the Italian team.

On Thursday the team announced that it would not proceed with its planned switch to Honda next year and on Friday it was confirmed that a new Ferrari deal had been signed instead. Sauber has a long affiliation with Ferrari, which started in 1997, but this year it has used year-old power units as part of a cut price deal. From 2018, however, it will again benefit from up-to-date power units.

"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," Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur said. "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."

Vasseur explained that Sauber, which is only ahead of McLaren-Honda in this year's constructors' championship, needed to ensure it would get a competitive power unit next year, and with McLaren yet to confirm it will remain with Honda next year, the uncertainty surrounding the Honda deal was too much to risk.

"We are in a quite tough situation in terms of pace and we need to have reference," he said. "On the Honda side, we don't know exactly what will happen with the McLaren deal. It's also a tricky situation for us.

"We reached a point that at one stage it was better for everybody to stop the discussions and we did it in a very fair way with Honda and I would like to thank them for the discussion we had over the last ten days. It was a good thing for me.

"Now that we stopped the discussion with Honda we have to find a new one but we are already discussing. We have not so many engine suppliers in the paddock and we will be able to close the deal quite soon."

The news puts Ferrari junior drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi in the running for a drive at Sauber next year, although the team has yet to confirm its 2018 line-up.