When Pascal Wehrlein was ruled out of the Australian Grand Prix at very short notice, Sauber turned to young Ferrari development driver Antonio Giovinazzi to take over. The 2016 GP2 vice champion acquitted himself well, qualifying in 16th place and finishing in 12th.
Things did not go so well in his next outing in China when he crashed out after three laps. Wehrlein was back in the seat after that and it appeared that the 23-year-old Italian had missed his chance for a full time place at Sauber. Charles Leclerc's astonishing performance in Formula 2 soon marked out the Monegasque driver as the clear favourite for a 2018 race seat.
However, Giovinazzi's Ferrari ties did see him pick up more free practice outings with Haas, and he was eventually appointed Sauber's third driver for next season.