Leclerc 'very happy' to get Alfa Romeo Sauber race seat in 2018

Steve Phelps
December 3, 2017

Giovinazzi is still part of the Sauber line-up, with the Italian taking on the role of third driver and set to participate in a number of Friday practice sessions during the 2018 season having raced twice at the start of this year in place of the injured Wehrlein. The title sponsorship deal means the team will be called Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 and the multi-year partnership comes with technical and commercial benefits.

Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc will graduate to F1 with Sauber next season.

The 20-year-old, a member of Ferrari's young driver academy, won this year's Formula 2 championship with seven wins and 282 points, 72 ahead of Artem Markelov.

While the 2018 Formula 1 driver market has been nowhere near as volatile as expected given the extensions for Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, some questions were left unanswered following the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi last Sunday. He was speaking in Milan at an event marking the launch of Sauber's new partnership with Alfa Romeo.

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Marchionne added that the partnership would also strengthen his hand in talks with Formula One about the sport's future and warned that the deal could end in 2021 if Ferrari made a decision to walk away as they have threatened.

"I think obviously we're starting from quite far behind because we had a hard season, but I think we have the potential to take a good step forward".

During a press conference held at Alfa Romeo's museum on Saturday, Leclerc and Ericsson took the wraps off the squad's proposed 2018 livery, which was presented on one of the team's showcars.

Instead, the team will use Ferrari power elements badged with the iconic Alfa Romeo brand.

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