F1 Winter Break
Sauber name disappears, team rebranded as Alfa Romeo Racing
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Posted By: Editor   |  01 Feb 2019   |  11:36 am GMT  |  150 comments

The Sauber name will disappear from the Formula One entry list in 2019, with the Swiss team being renamed to Alfa Romeo Racing.

After being given the Alfa Romeo name as a title sponsor – along with a new livery – for the 2018 season, the team have taken the steps to rename their entry as Alfa Romeo Racing for 2019.

Whilst there is no change to the management structure that has evolved over the past couple of seasons, it means that the Sauber name will disappear from the sport, having been ever-present since 1993.

The move means Sauber increase their partnership with the Fiat Group, who also own Ferrari, who are technical partners with Sauber. Alfa Romeo have gradually increased their presence on the technical side, which has aided the team’s sharp rise through the field in 2018.

Team principal Frédéric Vasseur promised that development in “every sector” of the team would continue as they bid to continue their rise through the field:

“It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the Team name Alfa Romeo Racing. After initiating the collaboration with our Title Sponsor Alfa Romeo in 2018, our team made fantastic progress on the technical, commercial and sporting side.

“This has given a boost of motivation to each team member, be that track-side or at the headquarter in Switzerland, as the hard work invested has become reflected in our results. We aim to continue developing every sector of our team while allowing our passion for racing, technology and design to drive us forward.”

Sauber through the years

Having achieved success through sports cars and endurance racing (Le Mans winners in 1989 and 1990), founder Peter Sauber took his team to Formula One for the 1993 season, continuing their long association with Mercedes.

They scored points with on their debut at the attritional South African Grand Prix with JJ Lehto, but became midfield runners straight away, frequently challenging for points.

A switch to Ford engines for 1995 was one ingredient of a successful season which brought their first podium finish. Young hotshot Heinz-Harald Frentzen took third place at that year’s Italian Grand Prix.

Another podium finish was achieved in 1996 before they made their first switch to Ferrari power in 1997, a partnership which would become a key part of their Formula One history. The Ferrari units were re-badged as Petronas engines (effectively year-old Ferrari engines).

Their performances hit peaks and troughs as they remained a mainstay in the midfield battle, with their best season in the ‘Petronas period’ (1997-2005) coming in 2001. Armed with two fast junior drivers in Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen, they finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, beating the bigger-budget teams of British American Racing and Jaguar, previous champions Benetton, and recent championship contenders Jordan.

A new era with BMW – who were increasing their involvement in Formula One – began in 2006, and a bigger budget yielded year-on-year improvements to the point where Robert Kubica was an outside contender for the 2008 drivers’ championship. The Pole took a memorable first-and-only for Sauber win at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, leading team-mate Nick Heidfeld to a sensational one-two finish.

They hoped for bigger things in a disappointing 2009 season and, coupled with the global financial recession at the time, they made the shock decision to pull out of Formula One altogether for 2010, selling the team back to Peter Sauber.

Reigniting their association with Ferrari, Sauber began to regain lost ground, and they hit the podium positions once more in a competitive 2012 season. With Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, the team had one of their most successful years as an independent team, achieving four podiums and came close to a race win at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

However, from there the results slowly declined, and Sauber have struggled for consistent point-scoring streaks since, particularly from 2014 onward.

In 2016, they narrowly finished ahead of Manor in the constructors’ championship, but finished at the foot of the ten-car championship 2017 after Manor left the sport.

In July 2016, Longbow Finance bought the Sauber shares from Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn, gaining full control of the team. An initial deal with power unit suppliers Honda was agreed in 2017, but this was subsequently cancelled in favour of increasing their partnership with Ferrari, which has brought the Alfa Romeo name back to Formula One.

Under the closer partnership, Sauber’s results in 2018 picked up, with the team finishing eighth in the constructors’ championship, finishing ahead of Toro Rosso and Williams.

Having competed in Formula One in 1950 & 1951 – taking the drivers’ titles with Giuseppe Farina and Juan-Manuel Fangio – Alfa Romeo’s last stint as a fully-fledged constructor was from 1979 – 1985, where they achieved a best Grand Prix finish of 3rd place.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

How well do you think Alfa Romeo Racing will do this season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!
1

This was not completely unexpected.

2

Announcing your new car’s presentation day early on always makes a strong impression. And maybe it’s just appearances, but nothing helps against it: announcing and presenting late is not that good a sign.
First category (amongst others): Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari. Second: Red Bull.

3

haha, and 5 minutes after I posted this the announcement was made for Feb 13.

4

Forza Ferrari !!! We all know this is Alfa Romeo in name only. Alfa’s racing heritage died a long time ago, sadly. This is the Scuderia B Team. Whilst at it , they should give Mr Haas a wedge of cash and rebrand it as Lancia for the C Team , and for the cherry on top, put Mr Williams out of his misery with a wedge of cash and rebrand it Maserati for the D Team. Then we will have the full set of iconic Italian racing brands alltogether for a nice bit of rose coloured tintarella !! The politics of Formula 1 are such that the “sport” aspect is a very a miniscule part of the show – bordering on not even being a sport anymore.

5
Clarks4WheelDrift

Going full Italian, full Alfa!

Double retirement with electrical faults in race 1 then.

6

Let’s hope the Swiss put’s a final touch on the clockwork:)

The Italians in change for the design and aesthetics. Well they have a swiss though at the helmet overlooking everything so It’ll be fine

The colursceme is great.

7

So with a change of skins and new letterheads they drop a hunk of F1 history. Easy marketing to light up Alpha fans. Whilst people posting to this site seem mostly onto it, I wonder how many F1 fans will actually believe it’s a Alpha Romeo engineered car running around. How many actually look behind the skin?

8

Alfa have a stronger racing heritage that Sauber.
How many fans believe its a Mercedes engineered car that Lewis races?

9

@ Lucia…How sure are you about ‘skin only’ aspect of the team? From what i’ve read there was a great deal of cross pollination within the engineering departments and AR provided more than just cash.

10

Looks like FCA have an option to buy the team, to be exercised by end of summer…

11
Clarks4WheelDrift

It’ll never be as cool as this…

Plus the driver numbers will never be as large!

Though it’d be nice if they ignore the blue flags like Andrea de Cesaris and Bruno Giacomelli when the works Mercs come up to lap them, close up the field a bit.

12

Hopefully it will say Alfa Romeo on the skin not Alpha Romeo.

13
Tornillo Amarillo

In July 2016, Longbow Finance bought the Sauber shares from Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn”

Luke, are this old news?

See that:

1. Sauber F1 address:
Contact us:
Sauber Motorsport AG Wildbachstrasse 9 CH-8340 Hinwil Switzerland

Same address than ISLERO INVESTMENT AG… It could be a company de Longbow.

2. Reading on Internet an article June 4, 2018 :
“Islero Investments has taken over the position of Longbow Finance,” said Longbow’s boss Pascal Picci. The big rumour is that the change could be a precursor to Alfa Romeo taking over Sauber completely. Handelszeitung said a delegation of Sauber staff is scheduled to visit Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters.

https://www.wheels24.co.za/FormulaOne/f1-alfa-romeo-shaping-up-to-buy-sauber-20180604

So, is ISLERO INVESTMENT a company born just for selling Sauber to “ALFA ROMEO” now or soon ?

14

Sauber always had a value greater than anything the UK press was willing to admit. And the less said about the myopic public opinion the better. I guess people think what the read.

All money doesn’t have to funnel into the UK F1 industry.

What makes this more interesting is the desire to bring a historic name back in to F1 and actually staff and run the team with proven talent.

Early days but they should run at least as well as Haas.

Also its sobering to think how far F1 has slipped as a competition when you recall sauber had podiums with perez before we drifted into this pathetic excuse for competition the brains of F1 rubberstamped.

If I recall it was the press getting excited about bigger wings and fatter tyres with no dissenting voices at all rendering most of the teams efforts as just a job they do to pay the bills.

15

I get what you are saying Men…but
Money funnelling into UK F1 businesses?
Sauber resides in an easy tax nuetral Swiss residence. You forget Swiss region is the Mecca for the easy deal.
Does that mean it’ll move from Switzerland fully to Italy in building across the road from Ferrari HQ?
Become fully Italian where the real skin will be Ferrari…the posh bit of FIAT…in a country that has a problem passing its budget to The EU. or will they maintain their Swiss easy tax homestead in name only for that easy deal? Plus allowing Ferrari to state it’s a separate team. So whatever data analysis is a separate issue.
Reason why F1 works in UK is, it’s the place where the magic happens hence the trend to be here.
How much was Sauber better as an independent team? In it’s many guises it was being held together by the next big deal Sauber could do, whether it was a Hedge fund owner or a trio of owners. Now it’s owners are attached to Ferrari.
I wonder what the real Alfa Romeo family think of this. Assume they never had the same love for Enzo at al. Being competitive rivals.
I can recall Lancia having a Ferrari engine in their rally car but it was still a Lancia.
Will Alfa Romeo want to be classed as Alfa Romeo or Ferrari B team ? Yep Ferrari B Team through and through.

16

Hmmm…. If I was FCA / Elkann, and was planning on selling Alfa Romeo, say to Geely, I would think that an F1 team under the same brand would probably add some value to the (potential) deal… Particularly if the new rules include a budget cap, and the team is a midfield contender.

17

At al = et al
Before the spelling police come for me !

18

I’m surprised.

I thought they’d be renamed ‘Kimi’s Farewell Tour’

19

great for alfa romeo. they’ll start selling cars again.

since when did michael schumacher race with a halo?

20

Major sponsors should be tag on every teams cars.

21

Dear James
Just have these feeling, that Sauber’s turn around is faster than that of McLaren. Rumours of Sauber’s budget will be in the range of €250 million. Said to be close to McLaren’s. Wondering if it was the change in engine supply.

Cheers

22

No James here. Move along. Nothing to see here.

23

When’s this site going to rebrand as Luke Murphy on F1? It’s patently nothing to do with JA any more.

24

I said this a couple of months back but they didnt publish it. Who does JA even work for these days? You dont hear about him anywhere.

25

Totally agree, James Allen doesn’t seem to be involved at all on this site at all.
Time to delete it from my favourites.

26

According to one source all maybe not as it seems at first glance. It has been suggested that buried deep in the confidential arrangements between the team and the FIA there are clauses that could trigger a non dispersal of allocated monies should a team choose to change the naming of the chassis. It was hinted that the cars could retain the Sauber name but the team would be known as ARR until the new ‘Concorde’ is in place from ’21.

27

🤔ARR !! Kenneth would that be including a pirate sea shanty Arrr!! ☠

28

This was pretty much preordained. What will be interesting is whether or not Alpha goes all in. Of course, the only way that would happen is if the 2021 regs simplify the engine design.

29

Bob, why would they? Even if the engines were simplified, it would make zero sense for the company to make two engines!! This is just a branding exercise, and a hedge against a future budget cap, nothing more.

30

Its a “lets bump the value of Alfa Romeo” exercise. Expect an FCA sale within the next 12 months…

31

Indeed it would only happen if the engines get simplified. Otherwise it would make no sense since Alfa already have the branding on the car and there is little sense in spending a mountain of money to bulid a road-irrelevant PU for F1. I mean what would that demonstrate other than a compete lack of sense?

32

Well that makes me very sad.

To get rid of the Sauber name smacks of Ferrari throwing it’s weight around to me. When the new Concorde agreement has been thrashed out they will reduce their investment in the team and it won’t be Alfa Romeo anymore. In the meantime it gives them more leverage to have ‘two’ teams on the grid. It’s a terrible shame to throw the Sauber name out the window, particularly when both of their current drivers (and Kimi, Felipe) made their F1 debuts driving for the Hinwil team.

33

It’s still Sauber’s team though, isn’t it?

Ferrari’s levarage is no greater than it has been since it continues to have two B teams, Haas/Sauber?

34

Out with the old and in with the new. Sounds fine to me.

35

I am not sure that describing Alfa Romeo, founded in 1910, as new is entirely appropriate. In fact as the winners of the first race and champiosnhip you can’t get any older in Formula 1. Trouble is this isn’t the real Alfa team, just like calling a team Lotus doesn’t make it Team Lotus, you can bet fans and commentators will be calling it a Sauber, or the Alfa Romeo that used to be called Sauber, for years to come.

36

@ JNH…AR is new to the grid for 2019. I am fully aware of the history of AR …as any follower of motorsport would be. To what extent the team is AR and what was left over from previous times is as yet not fully explained. The ‘Saubers’ of the F1 business come and go. So what? Like almost everything we see today is changing right in front of our eyes. That’s life, ‘plus ca change’.

37

Getting used to Force India being called Racing Point this season will take a lot of getting used to after all the success Force India had over the last ten years. Sauber on the other hand just made up the numbers most of the time they were in F1. Having an Alfa Romeo on the grid will be a refreshing change.

38

I agree, losing Force India is painful than Sauber…

39

F1 is now a playground for manufacturers with no room for the Saubers, Jordans,, Tyrrells, Minardis etc of this world. And it’s only a matter of time before Williams will disappear as well.

40

so they will have an alfa engine no

41

I’ve said it a few times on here; I admired what Sauber achieved in Endurance and they way they went about F1.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I like F1 teams with personality and I don’t think any are left! (Williams?)

Thanks for the memories, Peter & co.

42

Sauber were one of the smaller teams which were butting-heads with FOM and the FIA over fairer conditions and equal “pay” … which means they were effectively voting against Ferrari at the negotiation table.

With Ferrari indirectly (through Fiat) supplying enough funding and resources for them to step closer to the pointy end of pit lane, renaming the team and (I’m guessing) assuming control of it, they now become a staunch Ferrari ally.

Very clever indeed!

Liberty’s already monumental task of controlling the changes for 2021 just became one vote harder to implement!

43

@ Jack…yes, a bit like Mercedes who get supported by their customer teams both at the negotiating table and the race track. A bit like Red Bull and Toro Rosso, even down to TR taking a bullet for RB when and if necessary. Renault are currently cleanskins as i don’t believe that they exercise any control over McLaren. What i’d like to see is a full blown factory team effort from Maserati…..

44

Remember Maserati once upon a time had a Ferrari engine. The MC-12 hyper race car was actually a Ferrari in disguise. So wouldn’t class Maserati as full blown independent team. Were they not propped up by Audi at one stage who were propped up by VW who were… it can go on forever one assumes the only independent has to be Lamborghini or Spyker or McLaren, from the not so distant future. Every other team seems to have an attachment or scaffolding to a big car manufacturer.

45

@ BKF…without being pedantic, just confused at your POV. In post 49 you state that ‘Maserati have an independent history of racing’ then in post 43 you say ‘wouldn’t class Maserati as a full blown independent team’. Something amiss here….but i’m sure that you’ve got a logical answer as usual haha.

46

Kenneth you do realise post numbers are now on a conveyor and change with time. Assume it was stagnating over weekend go slow moment.
Regarding pedantic….
back in the hay day , example no.32 Maserati 250 1957 was driven by Fangio. Maserati in that era, were an independent team and car manufacturer.
But if you see the modernish
Maserati MC-12 racing spec version it’s not really a Maserati because it was a Ferrari chassis a Ferrari engine and was really A Maserati body on a Ferrari FXX .
Besides 21st Century, Maserati has had many big car manufacturers owning it from Audi to whoever part owns it now.
Same goes with Alfa Romeo now.
It’s all smoke and mirrors.
Back in the Salad Days of racing Maserati stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Ferrari Alfa Romeo and Lancia and FIAT.
Now it’s somebody’s else’s B#t@h passed on whenever finances need topping up.

47

I actually got to sit in an MC-12 racecar, and saw the V-12 being tested on the dyno. I seem to recall that the chap at the controls had a horse shaped logo on his overalls, although we were in a facility not a Maranello.

* Static unfortunately, and the wheels were off, as well as the rear bodywork. It was a beast, in the truest sense of the word.

48

Redline
Wow that’s great to know regarding the prancing horse overalls. Wasn’t it an FXX or something similar disguised as a Maserati.
I also viewed a Maserati MC-12 at the Goodwood Festival a few years back (Not moving just static), looked rather cumbersome for a road car, but still looked the business.
It did top the Top Gear chart for one week to be beaten by the Ascari K1 (think that’s what it was called) awesome looking car which was then beaten by the Zonda Racing spec only to be chucked off as it wasn’t road legal. Inabilty to go over raised traffic calming bumps called sleeping policeman).

49

Maserati?! That well known independent car maker…..?

50

Sad to see the Sauber team leaving the sport after years of strong performances in the midfield, promoting some excellent young drivers, and punching above their weight for an independent team. Peter Sauber and his team were great for the sport.

Perhaps it is fitting and a sign of the times though. With Peter Sauber and his immediate proteges long gone, and the increased involvement of Ferrari and big investors, it’s not really the privateer team that it once was. It’s kind of good to see another ‘manufacturer’ in Alfa Romeo, but in reality that’s just another brand name of Ferrari/Fiat. Sauber seems to be filling the position of Ferrari B team, as most of the grid gets in line behind one of the big 3 teams.

That said, Sauber were effectively the Ferrari B team in the 90s too, and they still turned out some great performances and gave us the likes of Raikkonen and Massa. I’m sure the privateer spirit still lives on in the Sauber factory, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the engineers from the 90s-2000s are still there.

They’ve shown promise in the last couple of seasons, with Kimi on board this year and more help from Ferrari, they could be strong. In fact there isn’t really any “backmarker” team any more, it’s going to be a very tough fight for “best of the rest” behind the top 3.

51

It’s just a re-branded Ferrari that will not be allowed to compete with the prancing horse. The founders of Alfa would never have condoned this. I’m not sure Enzo Ferrari would be happy to see the Alfa name belittled in such a way.

52

Totally agree JohnH
The founders of Alfa Romeo must hate their name being masquerading on a Ferrari B team car. Alfa Romeo had an independent history of motor racing.
Will Alfa now be part of the Middle East tacky/dodgy Ferrari museum theme park.
Or is FIAT propping up Alfa Romeo too?
Now who is propping up FIAT ?
I guess its The tv series Inspector Montalbano which seems to prop up 3 FIAT Uno cars and one Alfa Romeo saloon car.
While the ‘Maltese the Mafia Detective’ had the best retro cars The Lancia Flavia and
1976 Alfa Sud ti 901 Race spec sprint and the Giardinetta.
On a personal preference
Give me the Lancia 1970 HF 2 door rally car or the
Lancia Stratos HF I know still has a Ferrari engine. But looks like a tasty sliced slab of Cherry Genoa cake.
Apologise, think I’ve just gone retro Top Gear all of a sudden.

53

@ BKF…I very nearly bought one of the best looking cars of the time which was the Alfa Brera. That was, along with the original Giulia, a car that was a sublime exercise in Italian design supremacy. They look good…even today. As for Montalbano…it’s about time that he was resurrected in a new role as the ‘ padrone di antimafia’. i do miss him gracing our screens.

54

Yep let’s resurrect Montalbano & his fear of getting into a marriage with his ever so long term girlfriend 😁👍😆

55
Tornillo Amarillo

Interesting from Motosport the “Supertime” calculation and the pecking order in the midfield for the whole 2018 session :
HAAS
RENAULT
FORCE INDIA
SAUBER
TORO ROSSO

56

Midfield. Aka tier 2, or Gp2.

57

A good step, it will significantly increase the value of the brand, Alfa Romeo! Will it also raise the price tag if it is sold? Will we see Li Shufu in the pits? Geely is said to be interested in buying Alfa Romeo and Maserati, they bought Volvo Cars,, London Taxi Company, Lotus, Proton and is Dailmer’s largest shareholder!

58

Though I’m sad we lose Peter Sauber’s name after such a proud history, I am so excited! My favorite driver returns to a team which always punches above its weight. After so many years of my two or three favorite drivers driving for my least favorite teams, I’m pumped for 2019.

59

Sorry guys, the iconic name is not Sauber,

it is ALFA ROMEO.

Who cares if it now F.I.A.T. !

60

F.I.A.T = F.L.A.T mediocre cars.

61

I’d like to throw in some disparaging remark about British cars, but there aren’t any left, are there?

62

Bristol Motors

63

Morgan.
McLaren.
Eagle (they do the Jag E type super car).
Noble, but I think they’ve changed names now, built in Leicestershire.
Not to mention bikes
Norton
Triumph

64

Formula one sponsor time is over, maybe they should look a something else to attract sponsor on internet or television.

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