Sauber confirms Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson as 2018 race line-up

Drivers Marcus Ericsson of Sweden right and Charles Leclerc of Monaco unveil the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team on the occasion of its official presentation in Arese Italy Saturday Dec. 2 2017. The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team will compete in the 2018 Fo

Alfa Romeo has joined up with the Sauber team for a return to Formula One after an absence of more than 30 years.

Though Leclerc has been expected to fill one of the seats for a while now, there had been a question-mark over who would partner him in 2018.

During the event, a previous generation F1 auto was unveiled featuring a red and white livery and a prominent Alfa Romeo badge (above, with Leclerc and Ericsson).

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

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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. Next year's vehicle will also be equipped with Ferrari power units.

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 chose to walk away as they have threatened. "We have big challenges ahead of us and having the contribution of Alfa is essential for the future of F1". The team parted company with former team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, who was replaced by Frederic Vasseur, before abandoning a Honda engine deal which had been agreed earlier in the season.

"It has a Ferrari engine and in Leclerc and Ericsson two drivers with exceptional talent", he said.

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.

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