Alfa Romeo are returning to Formula One after a 30-year absence as backers of Sauber next year, the iconic Italian marque announced on Wednesday.
The Ferrari-powered team will be known as Alfa Romeo Sauber.
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Milan-based manufacturer’s company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a statement that Alfa was “determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history”.
Pascal Picci, Chairman of Swiss-based Sauber Holding AG, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team.
“Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport.”
Alfa Romeo won the inaugural F1 championship with Nino Farina in 1950, and followed up with legendary Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio winning the 1951 title.
They then served as engine supplier for several teams from 1961 until 1979, before returning with a works team from 1979 to 1985, when they pulled out of F1.
Sauber have yet to finalise their drivers line-up for next season, with Ferrari’s junior drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi believed to be in the frame to replace Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.
This month, PUMA launched their '24/7' campaign, the brand’s newest performance proposition for men, featuring four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.
As the newest addition to the PUMA family, the 32-year-old Hamilton will spearhead the Men’s Training Business launch, beginning with the '24/7' marketing campaign, which redefines the brand’s performance philosophy in a time when workouts are no longer constricted to the gym.
PUMA believe Hamilton is the perfect embodiment of the 24/7 training proposition. With his unending travels and insane schedule, he demonstrates just how necessary it is to have a wardrobe that performs from the gym to the street.
The brand recognise that the city itself can be the gym, track and stage all day, every day, which is how “24/7” came about. The streetwear line is built to perform. Product designs feature a fusion of high performance training technologies with streetwear styling to create the most flexible collection to date.
As Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton stepped off the podium at Yas Marina Circuit and drifted into the silence of the Abu Dhabi night, the curtain came down on another thrilling Formula One season.
In the aftermath of Sunday evening, much discussion centred on the season’s key talking points – from Hamilton’s dominance, the closing gap between Mercedes and Ferrari, new cars in 2018 but most intriguingly Esteban Ocon’s future as an F1 superstar.
Fifteen months on from his debut at the Belgian Grand Prix, the Frenchman has captured the imagination of motorsport fans worldwide with his swashbuckling displays for Force India this year.
Eighth in the drivers’ standings, the 21-year-old accumulated 87 points in 2017, just 13 points shy of his experienced Force India teammate Sergio Perez in seventh.
The Evreux native may have only outraced Perez just once, but points in all but two races and a fifth place at the Spanish Grand Prix marks a scintillating rookie season any young driver would be hugely proud of.
But away from his class and aggression on the track, Ocon’s relationship with his Mexican colleague has not all been rosy, with the British-based Indian team threatening to impose strict orders on the pair following three collisions this season – the most notable of which came in Spa in August.
It’s never nice to see team-mates bickering to the press in the aftermath of races, but in some respects, it’s admirable to see the confidence of a young man trying to challenge a driver who has six years more experience in the sport.
It could also be argued that Perez enjoyed his second-best season to date based on the pressure imposed by the young upstart.
With Force India cementing their status as the fourth-best team on the circuit, they clearly boast the most exciting driver line-up outside of Hamilton/Bottas and Max Verstappen/Daniel Ricciardo – something that will make for an off-season full of hope.
But away from potential team success, Ocon needs to elevate himself to another level in the new year if he is to be the lead driver at Force India – and he’s proved over these past months that he is not far off the top positions, particularly with his stunning drive at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Fastest across the weekend in Montreal, he may have finished as the second-best Force India driver in sixth, but there was no doubt who was more impressive after Perez defied team orders when Ocon clearly had the pace to challenge Vettel in fourth place.
With further improvements set to be made on the new car, there is every possibility Ocon will challenge for podiums in 2018 – and test the dominance of the big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Eighteen top-10 finishes in his first full season certainly prove his potential, but he has to challenge further up the grid in his second campaign if the bigger teams are to step up and show interest.
As part of the Mercedes drivers programme, he is a strong contender to replace Bottas at the Silver Arrows in 2019 should they part company with the Finn.
It would be a serious coup for a driver with his potential to earn a seat at Toto Wolff’s side – a career move that would further enhance his prospects of being a future world champion.
With better knowledge of the tracks after a baptism of fire season debut, Ocon certainly has the attributes to fulfill great promise.