Alfa Romeo Sauber driver Charles LeClerc has said that he hopes to land a “dream” Ferrari F1 drive as early as 2019.
The Sauber driver has been in the Ferrari family since 2016 and has been tipped as a future Ferrari driver.
However, Ferrari’s conservative driver line-up means that it is unlikely that LeClerc will get a call up instead of Kimi Raikkonen.
When asked about his Ferrari aspirations, Leclerc said: “To switch that off is always difficult, when people say that it only makes me smile.
“But on the other hand it doesn’t feel realistic for now. I’m just focusing on this season – I think that’s important.
“If I’m starting to distract myself with what could possibly happen next year I don’t think it would be positive for me, so for now I’m focused on this year.
“Then when it will be time to think about next year I will think about it, and hopefully we have an opportunity to take that seat.
“It’s a dream since I was a child, so I hope to one day be racing for them.”
Leclerc believes that using Sauber as a springboard is the best way to catch Ferrari’s eye.
“I have less pressure than if I started in a bigger team, and they have had a lot of young drivers so they know how to help a young driver learn and help him start in F1, so it’s a great place to start,” he said.
“It’s looking very good for the future of the team. It’s all positive.
“Simone Resta has just joined [to focus on 2019 car development], which will be a huge boost for the team.
“He has a lot of experience with Ferrari, so it can only be positive to have someone who has worked with such a team. I’ve only heard positive things about him.
“We need to see how things are going, not in the next few races because it will take a bit more time than that, but I’m pretty sure we will move forward in the rankings.”