Sauber hopes to maintain Alfa Romeo branding
By Mat Coch
Thursday 13th May, 2021 - 1:30pm
Sauber’s Formula 1 operation hopes to continue with branding from Alfa Romeo into next season.
The Italian car company took over the branding of the team from 2018, having previously been a naming rights sponsor.
That deal was extended last October, meaning the Swiss-based team has continued to be known as Alfa Romeo this season.
The squad has a technical relationship with Ferrari, using the Scuderia’s power units, a deal that is understood to carry on until 2025 when a new engine formula enters the sport.
Question marks over the ongoing use of the Alfa Romeo name were raised earlier this year following a merger between Fiat Chrysler and the Peugeot Group, the two operations coming together under the Stellantis banner.
As a low volume manufacturer, it’s unclear whether the new parent company will be happy to continue its current spent to have a presence in Formula 1.
“You have to ask the question to Alfa Romeo first but we are in discussions for the future,” team boss Frederik Vasseur said when asked about the brand’s continued involvement given its new structure.
“I think that the brand and the name Alfa Romeo is an iconic one.
“It’s an important name also for the group and the history of the brand is directly linked to F1 and I hope that we will be able to continue together. “
Alfa Romeo won the first world championship in 1950 with Giuseppe Farina, and the 1951 championship with Juan Manuel Fangio.
It had left the sport by the time the constructors’ championship was introduced for 1950.
The marque returned to the sport in the late 1970s with a factory team, having supplied engines during the 1960s, but stepped away again at the end of 1985 with a handful of podiums to its name.
Alongside the technical relationship with Ferrari, the team also has connections to the Ferrari Driver Academy.
FDA member Antonio Giovinazzi has been placed at the team by the Scuderia, while Callum Ilott took part in Free Practice 1 in Portugal.
Sauber entered Formula 1 in 1993, bringing with it Mercedes courtesy of a long relationship in sportscar racing – the engine was designed by the team but built by Ilmor in partnership with Mercedes, and as such was given the ‘concept by Mercedes-Benz’ branding.
The operation first used Ferrari power in 1997, and continued using it until BMW’s involvement in 2006.
Up to the German marque’s withdrawal, Sauber returned to using Ferrari engines for 2010, a relationship that has continued ever since.