The 2019 season will see two of the most historical brands in motorsport – Sauber and Alfa Romeo – return to circuits across the globe with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and the young Italian Antonio Giovinazzi driving for Alfa Romeo Racing, formerly referred to as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
Just one year after it was founded on the 24th June 1910, Alfa Romeo made its debut in an official competition, winning the first Regularity Race in Modena. Since then, its sporting legend has been a string of victories and top-three finishes in many international championships, including Formula One.
In 2019, the cars of Alfa Romeo Racing will sport the time-honoured four-leaf clover emblem that since 1923 has identified the fastest Alfa Romeo models.
The long-term partnership between Sauber and title sponsor Alfa Romeo was initiated in 2018. Over the past year, the team made continuous progress and finished the championship in 8th place.
The term of the collaboration has been further extended, with the ownership and management of Sauber remaining unchanged and independent. As Alfa Romeo Racing, the goal continues to be the achievement of ambitious results at the pinnacle of motorsport.
"It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the Team name Alfa Romeo Racing," said Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal 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 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."
"Alfa Romeo Racing is a new name with a long history in Formula One," added Michael Manley, CEO FCA Group. "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 Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi on one side of the pit wall and Alfa Romeo and Sauber expertise on the other, we are here to compete."
"In the early 1930s Alfa Romeo was the team to beat in both sports car and Grand Prix racing," writes Mike Lawrence. "The advent of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union however pushed it down the pecking order, but, in, 1938 came the Tipo 158 'Alfetta', a Voiturette car which showed enormous promise.
After the War, the Alfettas were dusted down and, after problems in their comeback race, were undefeated between 1946 and mid-1951, securing the first two World Championships for Farina and Fangio.
"Alfa Romeo built cars for the 2.5-litre Formula One, but decided not to race them. In fact, company's competition policy, like most of its corporate policy, was an utter mess. As it went from a maker of hand-built cars for a minority, to a mass producer, Alfa Romeo lost its way completely. They had spirit, sure, but they rotted before your eyes.
"During the 1970s, Alfa Romeo supplied engines to several teams, notably Brabham, and then entered its own works team, 1979-1985, in an attempt to revitalise its flagging image as a maker of road cars. Alfa Romeo had even been reduced to making a version of the Nissan Cherry which it offered as the Arna. If you ever want to see a grown man cry, mention the Arna to an Alfa Romeo engineer.
"Twice the works team scored second places, but never looked like regaining its former glory. In the pits at Silverstone one year, the entire Alfa Romeo team, from Carlo Chiti down to wives and girlfriends were gathered around Giacomelli's car and there was a lot of discussion and gesturing going on. That is not quite true, one mechanic had gone into the pits and he emerged carrying a can of WD40. He sprayed it on the back of the gearbox and everything was solved. That was the moment when one realised that Alfa Romeo would never win a Grand Prix.
"A takeover by Fiat both secured the company's future and also brought an end to its Formula One venture. Alfa Romeo later became Fiat's arm in Touring Car races, Formula One being taken care of by Ferrari. The road cars have gone from strength to strength, and Alfa Romeo now makes some of the world's most lovely cars."