Leclerc joins Ericsson at Sauber for 2018

03 December, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Sauber's new Alfa Romeo car livery concept for 2018

However, Ericsson's future had been in doubt after he ended the season as the only driver to compete in every race without scoring a point.

Sauber announced earlier this week it would be racing as "Alfa Romeo Sauber" in 2018, heralding the return of the Alfa Romeo name to F1 after more than 30 years.

With his ties to Ferrari through the Ferrari Driver Academy in addition to his confirmed role as a full-time driver for Sauber, the team that signed a technical partnership with Ferrari for 2018, in his rookie Formula One season, Leclerc is among the lead candidates to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in the 2019 season.

The announcement was made by Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne on Saturday.

The covers were then pulled off a showcar, revealing a red and white livery, with a large Alfa Romeo logo on the engine cover.

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Ferrari-backed Leclerc, 20 and from Monaco, had been expected to get the Sauber drive after a dominant season in the official feeder series. He was speaking in Milan at an event marking the launch of Sauber's new partnership with Alfa Romeo.

"Formula One is the natural reference point for a marque like this", he said. The deal is understood to include an agreement for it to take at least one of Ferrari's young drivers next season.

Sauber finished last in the constructors' championship for the first time in their history in 2017.

"It's an fantastic 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.

Instead, the team will use Ferrari power elements badged with the iconic Alfa Romeo brand.

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