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Alfa Romeo joins forces with Sauber

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Back in the 1950s, when the Formula 1 World Championship began, Alfa Romeo was one of the dominant forces for the first two years, claiming the first three places in the inaugural Silverstone race, before Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio claimed back-to-back world championships.

As times changed, Alfa Romeo became an engine supplier for several teams from 1961 until 1979, before returning themselves with a works team from 1979 to 1985.

And now, the Italian marque has signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership with the Sauber F1 team to signal their return to the Formula 1 arena after more than 30 years.

The team name will change to Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team from 2018, with the Swiss -based company's cars bearing the Alfa Romeo logo and being equipped with 2018-spec Ferrari engines. 

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Alfa Romeo’s parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is an excited man when it comes to Alfa Romeo's return.

"This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years. Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1, [with] the brand itself benefitting 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. 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."

Although Sauber have not yet revealed who will race for them in 2018, Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc (the recently crowned F2 champion) is favourite for one of the grid places, with junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi or Marcus Ericsson fighting for that second spot. 

Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, said: "We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team. 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."

In the 2017 Constructors' Championship, Sauber finished bottom with just 5 points, but there is renewed hope that this new partnership with Alfa Romeo, alongside the long-standing partnership with Ferrari, will see an improvement in their F1 fortunes.