Sauber team boss Fred Vasseur has not completely ruled out Pascal Wehrlein staying with the team next year, saying it would a "mistake" to retain Marcus Ericsson because of his connections.
Ericsson's backers are the same as those who own Sauber and is therefore set to keep his spot at the team for the foreseeable future despite his poor showing.
Given Sauber's renewed relationship with Ferrari, it is likely that Wehrlein is going to be marginalised by one of Ferrari's rising stars – Charles Leclerc or Antonio Giovinazzi.
But Ericsson's place is not completely assured, according to Vasseur.
"It would be a mistake to build a team around a driver just because he has a connection to the owner," Vasseur told Auto Motor und Sport.
"Rebuilding Sauber will require patience, while drivers normally want results in the next race.
"So if he wants to sit in a podium car next year, he will have a problem with Sauber. We will talk with the owners about what is best for Marcus and the team."
"Pascal knows our situation, and I know his skills because we worked together in the DTM.
"If you want to rebuild a team, you need not only fast drivers, but those who are willing to work with the team and push it in the right direction."
Vasseur also revealed that he is due to have talks with Ferrari over the coming days about the prospect of Leclerc and/or Giovinazzi joining the team.
"We will discuss this with Ferrari in the coming days," he added.
"For us, the engine choice had priority and we did not want to mix that with the driver question. It would have taken too much time. There is now the opportunity to do that in peace."