Sauber F1 team changes name to Alfa Romeo Racing

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The Sauber Formula One team has been renamed Alfa Romeo Racing ahead of the 2019 season after the Italian car brand decided to extend the term of its title sponsorship deal with the team.

Sauber's ownership and management remains unchanged, with Swiss-based investment firm Longbow Finance still the sole owner of the team.

Alfa Romeo signed a technical and commercial sponsorship with the team ahead of the 2018 season, which saw the team renamed Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. However, for 2019 the name has been simplified to Alfa Romeo Racing, dropping the Sauber name which has been a part of the team's name since it made its debut under the ownership of Peter Sauber in 1993.

Alfa Romeo has a long history in motorsport and first raced in official competition in 1911, one year after it was founded. It enjoyed success in grand prix racing in the 1930s and the early years of Formula One in the 1950s, and competed in the sport as either a constructor or engine supplier from 1950 to 1987 before a 30-year break from F1.

Last year, the introduction of an up-to-date Ferrari engine and more competitive aero package saw Sauber move up the grid. The team hopes to continue its march towards the front of the midfield in 2019 and has signed Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi as its drivers.

"It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the team name Alfa Romeo Racing," team principal Frederic Vasseur said. "After initiating the collaboration with our title sponsor Alfa Romeo in 2018, our team made fantastic progress on the technical, commercial and sporting side.

"This has given a boost of motivation to each team member, be that track-side or at the headquarter in Switzerland, as the hard work invested has become reflected in our results. We aim to continue developing every sector of our team while allowing our passion for racing, technology and design to drive us forward."

Michael Manley, CEO of the FCA Group which owns Alfa Romeo, added: "Alfa Romeo Racing is a new name with a long history in Formula One. We're proud to collaborate with Sauber in bringing Alfa Romeo's tradition of technical excellence and Italian panache to the pinnacle of motorsport. Make no mistake: with Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi on one side of the pit wall and Alfa Romeo and Sauber expertise on the other, we are here to compete."