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Image via Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Image via Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

Sauber announce Leclerc and Ericsson for 2018 at Alfa Romeo launch

Written by  Dec 02, 2017

Sauber has announced Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc will partner Marcus Ericsson for the 2018 F1 season at an event launching their new partnership with Alfa Romeo in Milan on Saturday.

The line-up was anticipated with Leclerc completing a number of practice appearances with the team, alongside his incredible rise in F2 this year, winning eight races en route to becoming the first champion of the former GP2 series.

The move also signifies the closer collaboration between the Sauber and engine partner Ferrari, where the Monegasque is a member of the young driver Academy, with both Alfa and Ferrari sharing the same parent company Fiat Chrysler.

This presented Fiat CEO and Chairman of the respective brands Sergio Marchionne with the opportunity to revive the Alfa name in F1 for the first time since 1985 as a technical partner and title sponsor.

Marchionne had hoped to make the Hinwil team a full junior team by also having 2016 GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi in the second seat, however, the links Ericsson has with Sauber owners Longbow Finance proved too strong to break, with the Swede set for a fourth season with the team.

Instead, it is thought Giovinazzi, who had been making appearances with another Ferrari partner team Haas during the year, will be the reserve driver at the team.

At the event in Italy, a first look at the likely livery Alfa Romeo Sauber will be carry was revealed, with a mix of white and the dark Alfa red which its former F1 cars were known for.

The success of the partnership will depend on whether it can lift the Hinwil-based team from the back of the grid, where they sat for much of this season, ultimately finishing bottom of the Constructors' Championship.

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