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Alfa Romeo returns to F1 with Sauber deal

Italian automotive marque Alfa Romeo will return to the Formula One motor-racing championship for the first time in over three decades after agreeing a multi-year partnership with the Sauber team.

The technical and commercial partnership announced today (Wednesday) will see Alfa Romeo join the Swiss team as its title sponsor from the 2018 season.

Alfa Romeo is part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group and FCA is currently engaged in a five-year investment plan focused on transforming it, along with Jeep and Maserati, into global brands.

The partnership, which includes a strategic, commercial and technological cooperation between Alfa Romeo and Sauber, will enable the exchange of engineering and technical know-how, and provide new opportunities for the two organisations within Formula One and beyond. 

From 2018, the team will be known as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. The 2018 F1 car will bear the Alfa Romeo logo, and will continue to use Ferrari power units.
 
Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said: “This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula One after an absence of more than 30 years. A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula One. 

“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.”

Alfa Romeo took part in Formula One from 1950 until 1988, as both a constructor and engine supplier. In 1950 and 1951, Alfa Romeo won the inaugural drivers’ world championship with Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. 

From 1961 until 1979, Alfa Romeo participated as engine supplier for several F1 teams. The company returned in 1979 as a constructor before exiting Formula One in 1985. Sauber has struggled in recent seasons and finished a distant bottom of the 10-team constructors’ championship in 2017.

Pascal Picci, chairman of Sauber Holding, 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.”