With Sauber's confirmation, just one F1 seat remains for 2018

  • With Sauber's confirmation, just one F1 seat remains for 2018

With Sauber's confirmation, just one F1 seat remains for 2018

Sauber will field Ferrari-backed Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc alongside incumbent Marcus Ericsson, with the Scuderia's reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi set to take up a third driver role. 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).

Despite the stronger links to Ferrari, the Italian manufacturer was unable to get its way, with Sauber confirming Leclerc and Ericsson at its launch on Saturday.

Giovinazzi made his F1 bow this year subbing for an unwell Pascal Wehrlein in the first two races of the season. 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.

"The motor we use will be the same one Ferrari use", Marchionne said.

Formula One chairman Chase Carey and former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, president of the governing FIA, both attended the presentation.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) have invested billions of euros since 2014 to develop new Alfa Romeo models that would stand up against German premium rivals and shed a reputation for poor quality and service that has hit sales in the past decade.

"It's an incredible opportunity for me but also for the team", said Ericsson, whose financial support has always been linked to Rausing and the Tetra Laval packaging group.

The news was announced Saturday as the team's Formula One vehicle was also unveiled with it's slick red and white colouring with a prominent Alfa Romeo logo.

Marchionne is betting on the sporty Alfa Romeo because he believes it can deliver the global profile that the mass-market Fiat brand cannot and far greater sales volumes than top-end Maseratis.