► Alfa Romeo to sponsor Sauber team
► Commercial and technical partnership
► Sauber’s Ferrari engine deal continues
The Alfa Romeo name will return to the F1 grid in 2018, as a title sponsor of the Sauber team.
The squad will be renamed Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, and its cars will carry the Alfa Romeo logo. The team will extend its existing deal to use Ferrari powertrains.
Alfa Romeo and Ferrari are both part of the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) group of car brands.
A commercial ‘and technical’ partnership
The deal is described as a technical partnership as well as a commercial one.
‘This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand,’ said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, ‘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.’
Having a stake in two teams in F1 could give Marchionne more bargaining power with the FIA and the sport’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media. Red Bull also has two teams on the grid, in the shape of Red Bull Racing and ‘junior’ team Toro Rosso.
Driver line-up is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to comprise Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Alfa Romeo’s beautiful 158 and 159 Grand Prix cars won multiple races and titles at the dawn of the F1 world championship in the 1950s. The marque last appeared in the sport as a constructor in the early-to-mid-1980s.