2018 was Sauber’s most successful campaign in Formula 1’s turbo-hybrid era, with the Swiss team earning 48 points for eighth in the standings.
Its season began with plenty of optimism, the squad welcoming an iconic marque back into the fold… Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo returning to F1 after an absence of more than 30 years.
SOUNDBITE (English) CHASE CAREY,
CEO & CHAIRMAN, FORMULA 1:
“The very first champion, first season champion, in 1950 of Formula One drove an Alfa Romeo.”
Its new title partnership with Sauber went beyond traditional sponsorship with technical, strategic and commercial assistance – and a future buyout rumoured to be on the cards post-2020.
SOUNDBITE (English) FRÉDÉRIC VASSEUR,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, SAUBER:
“It means we’ll be much more attractive for everybody, for the media and for the sponsors also, but it’s also an mainly huge motivation for the team to have an iconic brand with us.”
On the driver front, rookie Charles Leclerc joined Sauber stalwart Marcus Ericsson – and the Monegasque delivered…
Across 21 rounds, Leclerc scored points 10 times with his best result sixth in Azerbaijan and seventh places in Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Ericsson’s best ninth in Bahrain, Germany and Mexico.
Leclerc’s top results forced a driver swap at Scuderia Ferrari, and ended Ericsson's F1 career – the Swede now headed to IndyCar.
Looking to 2019, Sauber has Simone Resta, formerly with Ferrari, as its technical director, ensuring a strong baseline, allied with Prancing Horse power and the latest-spec power unit.
An all-new driver line-up completes the transformation with 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen joining full-time rookie Antonio Giovinazzi, who replaced Pascal Wehrlein at the team in Australia and China last year…
It seems Sauber is back on the rise, and is continuing to head towards the front of the midfield – where it always belonged.