Formula One

Sauber Switches Manufacture, Reveals Drivers for 2018

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Sauber is going to have a brand new look for 2018, with both their drivers and manufacture announced.

The team announced that they will switch to Alfa Romeo, virtue of a multi-year and commercial partnership. It marks the first time the Italian manufacture has been associated with an F1 team in 30 years. On Saturday, the livery was revealed at a press event in Milan, Italy.

The event also allowed Sauber to reveal that Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ercisson will make up the squad in 2018, with Antonio Giovinazzi serving as the reserve driver.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur added, “With Marcus and Charles, we have a strong driver duo for the debut season of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. Marcus is an experienced Formula One driver, who knows the procedures and the team well, after having worked together for the past 3 years. He is a team player, and has a very positive attitude.

“Charles has proven his talent in several racing series, most recently winning the Formula 2 World Championship title. He had the chance to drive in four FP1 sessions and two tyre tests for us this season, and convinced the team with his professionalism and charisma. I look forward to going into 2018 with this driver pairing, and I am convinced that they will complement each other very well.”

Leclerc won the 2016 GP3 Championship, prior to the GP2 title this year. He has seat time in F1, having tested with both Ferrari and Sauber, and enjoyed another four F1 practice outings with the latter.

“I am very happy to be entering Formula One in 2018,” said the 20-year-old from Monaco. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Ferrari for their support. I would also like to thank Sauber for their trust and confidence in me as a driver, and look forward to joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming season.

“It was a great experience to drive a few FP1 sessions and tyre tests for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017, during which the team welcomed me straight away. It is a great working environment, and I already feel confident and comfortable here. In 2018, my aim will be to gain more experience in Formula One, and to bring as much value to the team as possible in return.”

The 2018 campaign will be Ericsson’s fourth with Sauber.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate the team on the new partnership with Alfa Romeo,” commented Ericsson. “It is a great honour for me to be driving for this team in 2018, and I am excited and proud to be part of this promising journey. I am confident that I can add to the knowledge and experience of the team.

“This winter is going to be very busy, and it will be important to push the development of the car in order to have a good start to the season. I am optimistic, that 2018 can be a big step and a good chance for us to move up in the field.”

For the brand, returning to F1 is all about reshaping their name.

“A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. 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,” said Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne, who also acts as CEO of Alfa Romeo’s parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “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.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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