The Sauber name will disappear from the Formula 1 grid this season after the Swiss-based team announced on Friday it had been renamed Alfa Romeo Racing as part of an extended sponsorship deal.
The team, who finished eighth out of 10 in the constructors’ championship last year, will remain under the same independent ownership and management with Frenchman Frederic Vasseur as principal.
Sauber made their Formula One debut as a privately-owned team in 1993, taking their sole victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix while racing as BMW’s factory team.
They have been partnered by Fiat Chrysler brand Alfa Romeo since last year.
The team use the same engines as Ferrari, with whom they have close ties, and have Finland’s 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Italian Antonio Giovinazzi in an all-new driver lineup for 2019.
Alfa Romeo has a strong heritage in Formula One with the first two world championships in 1950 and 1951 won by Italian Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in cars carrying the four-leaf clover emblem.
Ferrari’s late founder Enzo also started out racing and managing a team for Alfa Romeo, before setting up on his own in the late 1930s.
Founded in 1910, Alfa Romeo supplied Formula One engines in the 1960s and 1970s and returned as a constructor in 1979 before again withdrawing at the end of 1985.
— Alfa_Romeo (@alfa_romeo) February 1, 2019
The 2019 Formula One World Championship will see two of the most historical brands in motorsport – Sauber and Alfa Romeo – return to circuits across the globe with 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen and the young Italian Antonio Giovinazzi driving for Alfa Romeo Racing, formerly referred to as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
Just one year after it was founded on the 24th June 1910, Alfa Romeo made its debut in an official competition, winning the first Regularity Race in Modena. Since then, its sporting legend has been a string of victories and top-three finishes in many international championships, including Formula One. In 2019, the cars of Alfa Romeo Racing will sport the time-honoured four-leaf clover emblem that since 1923 has identified the fastest Alfa Romeo models.
The long-term partnership between Sauber and Title Sponsor Alfa Romeo was initiated in 2018. Over the past year, the Team made continuous progress and finished the championship in 8th place. The term of the collaboration has been further extended, with the ownership and management of Sauber remaining unchanged and independent. As Alfa Romeo Racing, the goal continues to be the achievement of ambitious results at the pinnacle of motorsport.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing: “It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the Team name Alfa Romeo Racing. After initiating the collaboration with our Title Sponsor Alfa Romeo in 2018, our team made fantastic progress on the technical, commercial and sporting side. This has given a boost of motivation to each team member, be that track-side or at the headquarter in Switzerland, as the hard work invested has become reflected in our results. We aim to continue developing every sector of our team while allowing our passion for racing, technology and design to drive us forward.”
Michael Manley, CEO FCA Group: “Alfa Romeo Racing is a new name with a long history in Formula One. We’re proud to collaborate with Sauber in bringing Alfa Romeo’s tradition of technical excellence and Italian panache to the pinnacle of motorsport. Make no mistake: with Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi on one side of the pit wall and Alfa Romeo and Sauber expertise on the other, we are here to compete.”