home icon / F1 News, Reports and Results / Leclerc handed four FP1 outings by Sauber

Leclerc handed four FP1 outings by Sauber

Charles Leclerc Sauber Formula 1
© XPB 

Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc will get the opportunity to participate in four Formula 1 free practice sessions this season.

The 19-year old Monegasque racing driver will be in the cockpit of the Sauber C36-Ferrari in Malaysia, the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

For Leclerc's first outing at the Sepang International Circuit, it will be Marcus Ericsson making way for Leclerc. Ericsson will then get the car back in FP2 and for the rest of the race weekend.

Leclerc is the reigning GP3 champion. This year he's leading the inaugural FIA Formula 2 championship by 59 points from Ollie Rowland with just two race weekends remaining. He's started from pole position in seven races, and claimed five race wins.

He took part in last month's in-season test at the Hungaroring, and was fastest on day 1 in the Ferrari. He was quicker than regular F1 drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Valtteri Bottas, and highly rated Mercedes junior George Russell.

Leclerc has been linked to a possible seat at Sauber in 2018. With Ericsson backed by Sauber's new owners Longbow Financial, it's understood that Leclerc is in line to oust Pascal Wehrlein next year.

He's been backed for a big F1 break by his current boss, Prema Racing team principal Rene Rosin. "How Charles is managing everything this year is something really incredible, so he really deserves a chance," said Rosin.

However, Sauber is also thought to be considering another Ferrari junior, Antonio Giovinazzi, for the race seat.

The 23-year-old Italian, who was runner-up in last year's GP2 Series, has already made his Formula 1 début. He stood in for an injured Wehrlein in the first two races of the year in Australia and China.

Giovinazzi has since taken part in three further Grand Prix weekends with Haas. He appeared in FP1 at Silverstone, the Hungaroring and last weekend in Singapore.

However, Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has said that both youngsters still have to fully prove themselves.

"Our objective is of course to grow up young drivers and maybe to see them in the future with us," he said earlier this month. "But, before that, they need to demonstrate in Formula 1 that they deserve it."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter