Sauber has launched a junior team that will compete in four junior categories in 2019. The Swiss team's move follows the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, who have had young drivers signed to their programmes for several years.
Leclerc will graduate to Ferrari next year, having been a member of the Scuderia's junior programme previously, but Sauber have now set sights on unearthing their own future stars.
Sauber's junior team will partner with Charouz Racing System – a big name in junior racing – to run in Formula 2, Formula 3, ADAC Formel 4 and the Italian F4 Championship with matching liveries.
Sauber CEO Fred Vasseur said: "Racing is a vital part of Sauber Motorsport's DNA and the Sauber Junior Team marks an important milestone in the company history.
"Sauber has a long tradition of helping drivers reach their full potential, having worked with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and upcoming star Charles Leclerc.
"With this project, Sauber further extends its racing platform with a complete and dedicated programme from the junior series to the pinnacle of motorsport. We are delighted to partner with Charouz Racing System, a highly professional team that operates with success in all the series."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.