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

Isaac Cain
December 3, 2017

"Alfa Romeo will offer the opportunity to two young pilots as has already been the case in the past with two champions Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, who debuted here", Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said on Saturday at the official unveiling. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place during Abu Dhabi's post-season tests, when it confirmed a title partnership deal with Alfa Romeo - bringing the legendary Italian marquee back to F1 after a 33-year absence.

Marcus Ericsson will stay at Sauber next year for the 2018 Formula 1 world championship.

Giovinazzi, who served as Ferrari's third driver in 2017, has two Sauber race outings to his name, the Italian having stood in for the injured Wehrlein at this season's two opening rounds, with a best finish of 12th in Australia.

It's believed that Ferrari had been pressing for another of their development drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi, to take the race seat.

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Ferrari-backed Leclerc, from Monaco, had been expected to get the drive.

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

Leclerc had always been tipped for one of the Sauber seats after storming to the Formula 2 title, finishing 72 points ahead of Artem Markelov. He was speaking in Milan at an event marking the launch of Sauber's new partnership with Alfa Romeo. Ferrari celebrated the 70th anniversary of his first vehicle this year.

Alfa Romeo supplied engines in the 1960s and 1970s and returned as a constructor in 1979 before again withdrawing at the end of 1985.

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