Ferrari prodigy Antonio Giovinazzi has been reassured of a future in Formula One despite being overlooked for a seat with Sauber in 2018.
Giovinazzi initially impressed when he stepped into the Sauber for the opening two races of 2017, the 23-year-old finishing 12th in Australia before retiring in China.
He did not feature again following Pascal Wehrlein's return to fitness, but was thought to be in the frame to be part of the new-look team next year.
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However, Sauber opted for F2 champion Charles Leclerc to partner Marcus Ericsson, leaving Giovinazzi to settle for third driver at Ferrari.
Sergio Marchionne, the Ferrari president, insists the Italian remains an important part of the Scuderia and will get his chance to shine.
"Giovinazzi is a good guy and it's just a question of time," he said, as quoted by Autosport. "He should get his chance. 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 chance to replace Kimi Raikkonen could come his way in 2019 if the Finn does not sign a new deal, but Marchionne hinted Leclerc could be given that opportunity should he impress next season.
"Leclerc has been asked to give his best to the Alfa Romeo Sauber project in 2018." "Then we will see," he added.