Alfa Romeo Returns To Formula 1
Graham Read, Formula 1 Correspondent
Alfa Romeo, which is part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA), has today announced that it is to become the title sponsor of the Sauber Formula 1 team with effect from 2018 in a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement.
The Swiss based team will use next year’s Ferrari engines as the CEO of both FCA and Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, looks to increase the profile of the Alfa Romeo brand.
In making the anticipated announcement Marchionne commented “This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years.
"A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 Team’s undisputed experience.
"The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelvio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 Team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history.”
The Sauber Chairman Pascal Picci shared this enthusiasm, adding “We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team. Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport.
"Working closely with a car manufacturer is a great opportunity for the Sauber Group to further develop its technology and engineering projects. We are confident that together we can bring the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team great success, and look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Today’s announcement heralds Alfa Romeo’s long awaited return to Formula 1.
Alfa Romeo took part in F1 from its inception back in 1950 through until 1988 as both a constructor and engine supplier.
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From 1961 until 1979 Alfa Romeo supplied engines to several F1 teams and after returning as a constructor in 1979 the team achieved a best finish of sixth in the 1983 Constructors’ Championship before withdrawing from Formula 1 two years later.
The team is yet to announce its driver line-up for the 2018 Formula 1 season, but it is widely expected that Ferrari’s young French protégé Charles Leclerc, this year’s Formula 2 champion, will occupy one of the two seats.
The other is likely to go to another promising Ferrari junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi if Sauber’s current Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson isn’t retained.
F1 has long been known as the Piranha Club and sadly promising young Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein, who has been driving for Sauber, will now find himself surplus to requirements.
Alfa Romeo Returns To Formula 1, 29th November 2017, 14:17 PM