The Alfa Romeo brand will return to Formula 1 from 2018, following a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement between FCA and the Sauber F1 team.
The collaboration between FCA and Sauber will also see Ferrari Young Driver Charles LeClerc graduate to the top-flight, following a dominant season in the F2 feeder series. The successor to the C36-Ferrari will carry the ‘distinctive colors and logo of Alfa Romeo’ which will effectively become the team’s Title Sponsor. The car will also see a significant step forward in terms of performance, relative to the C-36, with the car set to be equipped with the latest-spec 2018 Ferrari power units.
According to FCA, the scope of the agreement also includes strategic, commercial and technological cooperation in all areas of development, including the exchange of engineering know-how and technical expertise between the partner groups. The official name will be Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
“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 FCA. “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. 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.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team,” added Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG. “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 last competed in Formula 1 in 1985, two years after it achieved its best placed finish of 6th in the championship. Before the switch to the modern hybrid-era, Sauber was a successful mid-field team and with funding by Longbow Finance S. A., Frédéric Vasseur named as the new managing director and CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG, and team principal of the Sauber F1 Team, the Alfa Romeo-deal marks the final piece of its reinvention as it looks to return to more successful times.
The team will remain headquartered in Hinwil, in the Swiss canton of Zurich and make use of its 15,600sqm state-of-the-art factory, manufacturing facilities, offices and one of the most advanced wind tunnels in F1.