ALFA Romeo, once the dominating brand in sports car and Formula One racing, will be back in F1 racing next year after an absence of more than three decades.
The iconic Italian car maker has signed a multi-year partnership with the Swiss Sauber F1 Team, beginning with the 2018 season.
Called Alfa Romeo Sauber F1, the cars will bear Alfa’s distinctive colours and the famous logo of a man being devoured by a serpent, and will be powered by 2018 Ferrari power units.
Alfa Romeo shot to immediate fame when it won the British Grand Prix on May 13, 1950, in what was known as the birth of Formula One as it is known today, with a clean sweep of the podium, led by Giuseppe Farina.
It won the first two F1 world titles in 1950 and 1951 and later was an engine supplier for several teams before withdrawing in 1985.
Alfa’s sporting heritage dates back to 1911 and covers sports and touring cars as well as F1.
“This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand,” Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne said.
Sauber has been in F1 since 1993 but has struggled in the 2017 season which ended on Sunday.
“We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team,” Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, said.
“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.”
From 1961 to 1979, Alfa Romeo was an engine supplier to several F1 teams and returned as a constructor in 1983..
As the Mercedes works team, Sauber celebrated a one-two sports car victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1989 and back-to-back Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles in the World Sports Car Championship in 1989 and 1990.
Sauber entered Formula One in 1993.
In partnership with BMW it scored a one-two finish in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix on the way to third place in the constructors’ standings that year.
In 2010 Sauber became an independent outfit once again, and had a very good year in 2012 headlined by four podium finishes and sixth place in the constructors’ standings.
The team has yet to announce its 2018 line-up, which is expected to be Ferrari protege and Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, but Sauber might dump the underperforming Swede and instead use another up-and-coming Ferrari junior in Antonio Giovinazzi.