Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne says Antonio Giovonazzi 's chance of getting a full-time seat in Formula 1 are intact.
The Scuderia junior, who ran the first two races of the 2017 season with Sauber and enjoyed several FP1 outings with Haas, was left the stranded last week, after Charles Leclerc's graduation to F1 with the Swiss outfit for next year.
But Marchionne insists Ferrari isn't giving up on its 23-year-old charger.
"Giovinazzi is a good guy, and it's just a question time. He should get his chance," said Marchionne.
"He will be Ferrari's third driver and he has a programme of testing with Sauber. We understand his desire to race, but at the moment there are no vacancies.
"The agreement with Sauber is a way to find an outlet for the youngsters in our Driver Academy, and it will take take time to streamline this system."
With Kimi Raikkonen contracted for one year only to Ferrari in 2018, there will likely be a seat up for grabs at the House of Maranello in a year's time.
Should he prove his worth next season, Leclerc could graduate to the Italian squad, leaving a door open for Giovinazzi at Sauber.
But Marchionne says Ferrari will be taking it one step at a time, and wait to assess Leclerc's performance before judging the Monegasque as worthy of a chance with the Scuderia.
"Leclerc has been asked to give his best to the Alfa Romeo Sauber project in 2018. Then we will see," concluded Marchionne.