Formula One: Charles Leclerc to drive for Sauber in 2018

The Italian auto manufacturer is making a return to the sport after 30-years to sponsor the team.

Charles Leclerc will make his Formula 1 debut next season after being confirmed alongside Marcus Ericsson in Sauber's line-up.

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

"So it's a great pleasure announcing Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson will be our official drivers", said Marchionne, administrator for Fiat who own Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

"Formula One is the natural reference point for a marque like this", he said.

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The 38-year-old Raikkonen signed a third straight one-year deal to remain with Ferrari through 2018, but a return in 2019 on a fourth consecutive one-year deal isn't overwhelmingly likely.

In a speech, Marchionne also thanked Sauber Holding chairman Pascal Picci and Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing for their support in reaching a deal that should boost a team that finished last overall this year. "First and foremost, I would like to thank Ferrari for their support".

Leclerc had always been tipped for one of the Sauber seats after storming to the Formula 2 title, finishing 72 points ahead of Artem Markelov.

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

Alfa Romeo supplied engines in the 1960s and 1970s and returned as a constructor in 1979 before again withdrawing at the end of 1985.


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