Sauber F1 Team has announced that it has signed a new multi-year agreement with Scuderia Ferrari, extending its already longtime partnership and collaboration with the Italian manufacturer and engine supplier.
Sauber announced yesterday the end of a tentative agreement with Honda to supply its engine to the Swiss outfit in 2018, a move that was widely expected.
Newly appointed Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur was keen on securing a supply of current-spec engines for the future, which Ferrari provides.
"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," 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.
The fact that Ferrari will supply up-to-date technology next year, rather than year-old units as supplied this season was a crucial part of the deal for Vasseur.
"I think it's a key point. We are in a tough situation this season. First you have no update during the season, no update of fuel, lubricants and so on," explained the Frenchman.
The Sauber-Ferrari partnership will likely see a Scuderia junior joins the Swiss outfit's ranks next season, with both Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc as probable candidates.
"I think at some stage it's probably more difficult to motivate everybody in the team if you start the season with the engine of the previous year.
"It's not a matter of money. I think it's important for the team. I don't want to speak about the company, but for the team, for every single person in the team, to be sure we are pushing like hell on every single department.
"The engine is one part of the discussion, and we need to have the last spec of the engine, for sure."
On the subject of Sauber's separation from Honda, Vasseur said the decision was done by mutual consent following a situation that had evolved for both parties recently.
"We did it mutually," said the French manager.
"I think the start of the discussion between Honda and Sauber was eight months ago, and the situation changed drastically on both sides.
"We reached the stage that at one point it was better for everybody to stop the discussion.
"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 10 days. But it was a good thing for me."