After more than thirty years away from the sport, Alfa Romeo has announced it will return to Formula 1.
Alfa says it has struck a deal with the Sauber F1 team to become partners for “strategic, commercial and technological cooperation.”
As such, the team will be called ‘Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team,’ and its cars will be given Alfa Romeo liveries in the brand’s colours, and its logo will appear on the cars.
The Alfa-Sauber cars will run with 2018 Ferrari engines, as per Sauber’s existing deal.
CEO of Alfa’s parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sergio Marchionne says the return of Alfa Romeo to F1 is a historic moment for the brand.
“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,” Marchionne says.
Antonio Giovinazzi driving for Sauber at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix (Getty/Anadolu Agency)
“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.”
Alfa’s history in the sport dates back to the ‘50s, when F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio claimed the 1951 championship for the brand.
Afterwards, Alfa stepped back from competition, but supplied engines to other teams between 1961 and 1979, before re-joining the sport in ’79 and competing somewhat unsuccessfully up until 1985.
Since then, Alfa has been absent from Formula 1.
Sauber Holding chairman Pascal Picci says he thinks both sides of the new partnership can learn a lot from each other over the course of the deal.
“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 Sauber F1 Team’s participation in F1 kicks off in 2018 with the Australian Grand Prix in March.