Alfa Romeo is rejoining the ranks of Formula 1 after a 32-year absence from the top-tier racing series. The brand partners with Switzerland's Sauber F1 Team for the 2018 season as the outfit's title sponsor. Though the team will wave the Alfa Romeo banner, it will continue to use Ferrari engines through 2018.
FCA signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership with Sauber that begins with the 2018 season. The agreement includes "strategic, commercial, and technological cooperation," and will lend Sauber the use of Alfa's technical staff. The racing outfit will officially be known as Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
"This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years," said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, in a release.
Alfa's participation in Formula 1 and the sport of Grand Prix racing dates back to the pre-war era with the GP Tipo 2, which won the very first World Championship in 1925. When Formula 1 was founded, Alfa Romeo participated as both a constructor and an engine supplier from 1950-1988. It last raced as a constructor in the 1985 season, however.
This announcement means Alfa will compete next season with FCA spinoff Ferrari--that is if the prancing horse brand doesn't decide to pull out of the sport. The move comes as Formula 1 begins discussing next-gen technical regulations for the 2021 season. Aston Martin and Porsche are both assessing a potential jump to F1 as engine suppliers, with their decisions hinging on the direction the rules take.