Alfa Romeo will return to Formula One for the first time in over thirty year after agreeing a ‘multi-year partnership’ with the Sauber F1 team.
Sauber and Alfa Romeo will form a ‘technical and commercial’ partnership which will see the Swiss team change it’s name to the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. Their 2018 challenger will also bear the Alfa Romeo logo and run Ferrari engines.
The move strengthens their partnership with Ferrari, with both brands being owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and increases the chances of Ferrari’s junior drivers – Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc – claiming seat for the 2018 season.
“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,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
“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.”
Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, added:
“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.”
Alfa Romeo participated in the first two Formula One seasons, help Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio to drivers’ championships in 1950 & 1951.
Whilst they supplied engines to several teams in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, they didn’t return as a works team until 1979, where they competed for seven seasons.
In their second stint, they claimed three podium finishes, including a third-place at the 1984 Italian Grand Prix with Italian driver Riccardo Patrese.