An extended technical partnership with Ferrari could produce a 'huge step' for Sauber, says team boss Fred Vasseur.
Sauber renewed its power unit agreement with Ferrari last month, a deal which will see the Swiss outfit benefit from the Italian manufacturer's latest spec engine and gearbox in 2018.
Extending the partnership however to include the supply of non-listed parts could fast-track the Hinwill-based squad's path to improvement.
"It would be a huge support to Sauber to have this kind of partnership with Ferrari," Vasseur told Motorsport.com.
"It would be the fastest way to improve because it's a huge step in three months.
"It's a good way to improve quickly and come back onto the pace and catch the midfield, and then we can see what will be the next step."
Non-listed parts are components of a car which a team is not required to produce in-house, unlike listed parts which include the monocoque, survival cell, bodywork, wings, diffuser, etc...
"First we need to think about the close future, next year. On the other hand, you need to keep in house the skills and the technology and the know-how and I don't want to give up on this.
"I don't want to just wait just for Ferrari to have the next step of the evolution of the car. It would make no sense.
"We have a very good facility, the wind tunnel is a good one, we have to manage that asset and push that asset. We have to find the right balance."
Because of its engine deal, Sauber is compelled to run a Ferrari young talent in its team, with F2 champion Charles Leclerc currently cited as the team's most likely candidate along with fellow junior Antonio Giovinazzi.
But Vasseur's current priority is defining the specifics of its collaboration with Maranello.
"We are discussing that we could extend the parameter on the technical side and we will do it," said Vasseur.
"Then we have the next topic, which is the drivers. It's part of the collaboration with them."