F1: Alfa Romeo Returns to Grand Prix Racing in 2018
Alfa Romeo, a unit of Fiat Chrysler NV (NYSE:NYSE) and long time Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) rival will return to F1 racing next year.
The Alfa competed in the series for decades, both as a constructor and as an engine supplier, but it pulled out of the sport over 30 years ago due to financial problems. The future looks brighter, and the iconic Italian luxury brand is making a comeback world wide.
Switzerland’s Sauber F1 team will accompany Alfa Romeo as it returns to the starting grid.
Sauber will closely cooperate with Alfa in all aspects of the sport except for powertrain development. The trans-Alpine partners will source their car’s power unit from Ferrari, which was Alfa’s sister company until it was spun off from Fiat Chrysler in its October 2015 IPO.
Sauber secured the rights to use Ferrari’s power unit last Summer.
The cars will wear an Alfa Romeo livery, though we do not know what they’ll look like yet.
Who will drive them has not been announced yet, and Alfa Romeo declined to comment when I called.
The BBC speculates Charles Leclerc will drive the 1st car, while the 2nd car will be piloted by either Marcus Ericsson or Antonio Giovinazzi, who is a Ferrari’s reserve driver.
They will go up against big 4X champions Lewis Hamilton, who races for MercedesAMG, and Ferrari hot shoe Sebastian Vettel.
“This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand,” noted Alfa Romeo CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. “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,” he added.
Alfa’s return is good news for F1 fans, as competition “betters the breed”.
The Big Q: Is Maserati next in line for a comeback?
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