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Photos by Roberto Motta and Alfa Romeo
Roberto Motta recently attended the introduction of the new Alfa-sponsored F1 team and sent us photos and PR blurbs. We tend to dismiss most factory PR, but in many ways, this does look promising, despite the fact that Alfa is sponsoring an F1 effort that uses the Sauber F1 chassis and a Ferrari engine. Not a bad combination at all, given the records of each. But then what does Alfa really provide in for new F1 team? Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, says this in the PR release:
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA “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. 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. 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.”
While we know all about Alfa, here is an update about the Sauber team from the PR release:
In 1970 Peter Sauber founded his company and designed his first racing car in the cellar of his parents’ house. The race team grew steadily and enjoyed its first major international successes in the late 1980s. As the Mercedes works team, Sauber celebrated a one-two victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1989 and back-to-back Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles in the World Sports Car Championship in 1989 and 1990. In 1993 Sauber entered Formula One. Among the team’s F1 highlights have been a fourth-place finish in the Constructors’ World Championship in 2001 as an independent team and – in partnership with BMW – a one-two finish in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix on the way to third place in the constructors’ standings that year. In 2010 Sauber became an independent outfit once again. 2012 was a very good year of the Sauber F1 Team, headlined by four podium finishes, 126 World Championship points and sixth place in the constructors’ standings. The 11th October 2012 marked a milestone in the history of the team – the day when Sauber stepped down as Team Principal and passed on the baton to Monisha Kaltenborn. Between 1993 and the end of 2016 the team contested 424 grand prix in Formula One. In 2017 the Sauber F1 Team celebrates another milestone: it is the 25th Formula One season in the teams’ history. The fourth oldest Formula 1 team starts together with its new owner, Longbow Finance S. A., into a new era. In 2017, Frédéric Vasseur was named as the new Managing Director and CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG, and Team Principal of the Sauber F1 Team. Sauber has its headquarters in Hinwil, in the Swiss canton of Zurich. The team’s state of the art factory houses manufacturing facilities and offices spanning an area of 15,600 square meters and boasts one of the most advanced wind tunnels in F1.
The Frenchman Charles Leclerc, born in 1997, is considered among the youngest yet strongest drivers. Leclerc was champion in GP3 and Formula 2, he will soon start his adventure in Formula 1. After growing up in the Ferrari Driver Academy, he will race with Alfa Romeo Sauber, that in fact, is a Ferrari satellite team. We note that over at Ferrari, the Raikkonen contract was renewed for only one year. So, we suspect that Leclerc could become a Ferrari’s driver in the 2019. Marcus Thorbjörn Ericsson, born in Sweden in 1990, has been an F 1 driver from 2014, when he debuted with the Sauber Team.
And Maserati too
At the same time, according to By Paul Ebeling in Live Trading News, Maserati will also get into F1 next year, using the Haas Team to create a new F1 car using the Ferrari engine. This will be a U.S. team effort, even though the engines are Ferrari and chassis Dallara. Maserati will reportedly pay about $30 million a year to back the effort.
So what’s this all about? Politics, probably. According to Ebeling, the two additional teams of Maserati and Alfa Romeo would create a 3-team voting bloc against the FIA’s proposed changes to its Y 2019 engine regulations. Maserati apparently did not comment on this development.
Alfa photos by Roberto Motta below