The line-up was announced at a special press event in Milan, Italy on Saturday, where the team revealed further details of their new title sponsorship deal with Alfa Romeo, including a revised red and white livery concept for next season's vehicle and a new logo. They have linked up with Alfa Romeo, who will become their title sponsor, for the 2018 season in a deal that marks a return to F1 for the Italian firm after a 30-year absence.
ARESE, Italy, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc will move up to Formula One with Alfa Romeo-backed Sauber next season while Marcus Ericcson stays in the lineup despite the Swede failing to score a point in 2017.
It's believed that Ferrari had been pressing for another of their development drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi, to take the race seat. During the event, a previous generation F1 vehicle was unveiled featuring a red and white livery and a prominent Alfa Romeo badge (above, with Leclerc and Ericsson). Instead, the Italian will be Sauber's third driver, effectively meaning he is in a reserve role.
In a speech, Marchionne also thanked Sauber Holding chairman Pascal Picci and Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing for their support in reaching a deal that should boost a team that finished last overall this year. "First and foremost, I would like to thank Ferrari for their support".
The news was announced Saturday as the team's Formula One auto was also unveiled with it's slick red and white colouring with a prominent Alfa Romeo logo.
"This agreement with the Sauber F1 team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand", Marchionne said earlier this week.