The Sauber F1 Team will enter the 2019 Formula 1 season rebranded as Alfa Romeo Racing after more than 25 years racing under the banner.
Founded by ex-team boss Peter Sauber, the Swiss outfit has been ever-present in F1 since 1993 – even through the team’s acquisition by BMW in 2006 until 2009.
Alfa Romeo was announced as its title sponsor last year, the company returning to an active involvement in F1 for the first time since 1985.
After an eighth-place finish in 2018, this season sees an all-new driver line-up at the team, with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who debuted for Sauber in 2001, and Italian Antonio Giovinazzi at the wheel.
“It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the Team name Alfa Romeo Racing,” said team principal Frederic Vasseur.
“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 headquarter 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.”
Sauber’s eye for talent saw it launch the careers of many drivers, from Raikkonen 18 years ago, to Felipe Massa a year later and Robert Kubica in 2006.
A young Sebastian Vettel was handed his debut by Sauber at the 2007 US Grand Prix and, more recently, Charles Leclerc, who shone in his first year in F1 in 2018.
Kubica’s victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix would end up being Sauber’s one and only race win, finishing a high of second in the constructors’ standings the year before under BMW’s reign.
The team has also endured some lows in recent times, surviving a dire period as it struggled with financial backing and poor on-track performances, with a takeover in 2016 saving it from administration.
A late-season surge in results, plus changes on the technical side, has Alfa Romeo tipped as a potential midfield threat in 2019.
“Alfa Romeo Racing is a new name with a long history in Formula 1,” added CEO FCA Group Michael Manley.
“We’re proud to collaborate with Sauber in bringing Alfa Romeo’s tradition of technical excellence and Italian panache to the pinnacle of motorsport.
“Make no mistake: with Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi on one side of the pit wall and Alfa Romeo and Sauber expertise on the other, we are here to compete.”