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Sauber delays 2018 announcement until next week

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur
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The Sauber F1 Team won't be unveiling its driver line-up for next season this weekend after all.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur had previously indicated that an announcement about Sauber's future would probably be made at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

However, Vasseur said on Friday that it wasn't a priority for the team and that there wouldn't be any news for up to another week.

"I was too optimistic," he admitted. "It is just a question of days. I don't think it will happen over the weekend. It's probably much more likely next week."

The delay has led to speculation that negotiations with Ferrari about the team's future are still ongoing. Sauber's supply of Ferrari power units may be rebadged as Alfa Romeo, with Maranello possibly taking a more hands-on role at the team.

Ferrari wants to see two of their young development drivers, Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, racing in Formula 1 next season.

However, Sauber's backers Longbow Finance include major sponsors of the team's current driver Marcus Ericsson, complicating the situation. There certainly seems no room at the Swiss team for the Mercedes-backed Pascal Wehrlein next year.

"It could be a part of the discussion but so far it is not a topic," Vasseur said when asked about the Alfa Romeo rumours.

"It is not the first priority for the team," he told reporters at Yas Marina. "I can understand that it is a key point for you, and probably more for the drivers.

"But it is not a key point for the team," he added. "Alongside driver choice, we have other topics to discuss."

Giovinazzi said that he himself had no better idea of what was going to happen next year than anyone else in the paddock.

"Like you, I'm waiting as well," he told Motorsport.com. "Things are happening with Ferrari and Sauber.

"I don't know yet, I hope to know as soon as possible."

Giovinazzi did add that whatever happened with Sauber, he wasn't looking at any other seats in Formula 1 for 2018.

"It's really late already. We are nearly in December, it's the last race. We'll see," he said, adding that it was more important to him right now to maintain his links with Ferrari.

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