Alfa Romeo back on track
in full return to Formula One
They were Sauber title sponsor last year, but now an Alfa Romeo team is back on grid
The Alfa Romeo name will fully take its place on the Formula 1 grid for the 2019 season, after an absence of almost 35 years.
The Italian manufacturer returned to the sport last year as Sauber’s title sponsor, but it last occupied a constructor’s slot in 1985. Powered by Ferrari engines last season, Alfa Romeo-sponsored Sauber finished eighth in the constructors’ championship. The season launched the Formula 1 career of Charles Leclerc, who raced alongside five-year F1 veteran Marcus Ericsson.
However, to go with the team’s new name, Alfa Romeo Racing, it will also have two new drivers in 2019. Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, joins from Ferrari, racing alongside former Ferrari test driver Antonio Giovinazzi. Ericsson will remain at Alfa Romeo Racing in the number three position.
Although the team name and driver line-up are changing, the ownership and management structures will remain the same and Ferrari will again provide the engines.
Team principal Frédéric Vasseur said: “It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 F1 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 headquarters 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.”
Alfa Romeo Racing launched its new car on February 18, during pre-season testing in Barcelona, ahead of the first F1 grand prix of the season which took place on March 17 in Australia. )
According to reports in Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport, the 2019 car, designed by former Ferrari designer Simone Resta, will feature a radical new shape and “interesting innovations” not seen in any Formula 1 car so far.
At last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, visitors to the Alfa Romeo stand were given the chance to get up close to the team’s F1 car.
FCA Group also hosted a number of its fleet partners, special guests from leasing organisations and members of the Italian Chambers of Commerce at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Over the course of the weekend, the guests got to meet the drivers and had unprecedented access to the Formula 1 paddock.
Simon Wheeler, corporate marketing manager, FCA UK, says: “The Alfa Romeo F1 partnership added an exciting dimension to our stand at Goodwood Festival of Speed and the British Grand Prix provided an unprecedented opportunity for us to thank our customers in the most spectacular way.”
He adds that with Alfa Romeo as a full team in 2019, exciting technological developments from the race track will find their way into the road cars, maintaining the brands heritage of providing unique technical solutions.
“Alfa Romeo has always been about the driver experience. There is no better testing bed than Formula 1 to develop those technologies,” says Wheeler.