Felipe Nasr’s biggest sponsor Banco do Brasil have confirmed that they are pulling the plug on their funding for Sauber in 2017. This has big implications on the future of Felipe Nasr’s future given that the Swiss team are exclusively looking for drivers who can bring significant sponsorship packages.
In the press conference following Friday Practice, Toto Wolff added weight to rumors of Pascal Wehrlein’s place on the 2017 grid with,
TW: "Esteban is now off to Force India and we are in discussions with Sauber and Manor for Pascal"
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 25, 2016
Sauber would benefit from Wehrlein’s abilities and Mercedes would provide sufficient funding to the team, who are already climbing an uphill challenge in 2017 with the announcement a moth ago about running a 2016-spec Ferrari power-unit. Wehrlein’s absence from Manor will have repercussions for the small team too, his Mercedes backing vital to a deal that gives the team access to Mercedes’ wind tunnel facilities.
Wow. Busy day. We interrupt it to bring you our final Race Poster of 2016. And we think it's a belter! How about you? pic.twitter.com/tvm7ufWW0D
— Manor Racing (@ManorRacing) November 24, 2016
Felipe Nasr enters the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend fighting for his Formula One career. Yesterday, the Brazilian driver said,
“There are still negotiations going on. There are talks with Sauber, mainly, and that’s our priority right now. I have a great relationship with the team, it’s been two great years.
We have seen the two sides of the coin; in the first year I was able to do so much; in the second it has been such a difficult time with the car being uncompetitive.
But it was nice that we were able to get those two points in Brazil and I’m sure it has given a boost for the team – these two points mean a lot, for myself and the team. Hopefully we’ll know [about my future plans] soon.”
– Felipe Nasr
His two points have certainly aided Sauber’s financial position as long as Manor don’t achieve the unthinkable on Sunday. If Wehrlein was to take the seat, Manor would find themselves without a confirmed driver for 2017 with Esteban Ocon off to Force India.