Sauber has dismissed claims that it will ditch its Ferrari engines and return to Mercedes power when the new F1 regulations come into force for the 2014 season.
French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet's Auto Plus
column claimed that the switch was all but inked, with the move freeing up a Ferrari supply for Force India, which would then take on French driver Jules Bianchi to appease the Prancing Horse. Force India is currently powered by Mercedes engines.
Sauber, however, insists that there is no truth in the rumour, despite having historical links with the Three Pointed Star, which not only forged a strong partnership with it in sportscars, but also provided the engines for the early Sauber F1 machines.
“We do not have an engine partner for 2014, not least because several aspects with regards to the costs are still unclear,” a team spokesman told Switzerland's Speed Week
magazine, “However, it is a fact that we have worked with Ferrari for more than ten years, and so the Scuderia is naturally our first point of contact.”
Ironically, should Sauber switch allegiance, Nico Hulkenberg could yet find himself headed towards McLaren, having been rumoured as a future Ferrari target following the Woking team's decision to pass him over in favour of Sergio Perez for 2013. The German was connected to both front-running teams during last season, only to sign for Sauber when the vacancies were filled by Perez and Felipe Massa.