Watch out, Mercedes. Alfa Romeo will be returning to Formula 1 next year with the hopes of adding to its historic F1 legacy.
After previously announcing that it will be running Ferrari engines in 2018, the Sauber F1 Team has now agreed to a multi-year contract with Alfa Romeo, which includes technological, commercial, and strategic cooperation. In addition, the team will be known as Alfa Romeo Sauber and will feature Alfa Romeo sponsorship on its race cars.
“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 Fiat Chrysler CEO and Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne.
The Alfa Romeo brand returned to the United States earlier this decade with the ultra-lightweight 4C coupe and has since released the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. While those vehicles have garnered heaps of praise from renowned automotive publications the world over, this hasn’t translated to huge sales numbers, which is precisely what FCA really wants.
Alfa Romeo was the first manufacture to win a F1 championship in 1950. Nino Farina was the driver for Alfa Romeo during that historic season and the company repeated in 1951 with Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel of an Alfa.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has yet to announce its driver lineup for 2018, but Ferrari’s junior drivers Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson are both being considered as potential drivers, according to Formula1.com.
Whoever ends up driving for the team in 2018 will answer to the Pascal Picci , who is the Chairman of Sauber Holding AG. The good news for those wheelmen is that Picci seems quite content with the new title sponsor of his race team — at least for the time being.
“Working closely with a car manufacturer is a great opportunity for the Sauber Group to further develop its technology and engineering projects,” said Picci. “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.”