Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team confirmed Antonio Giovinazzi for the 2019 F1 season as the replacement for Marcus Ericsson.
After the big announcement of Kimi Raikkonen returning to the Swiss team in a multi-year deal, Sauber announced Ferrari junior Giovinazzi as their second driver for the 2019 season, thereby completing their line-up.
“This is a dream come true, and it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team,” said Giovinazzi. “As an Italian, it is a huge honour for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport.”
The Italian gets a full-time seat after his F1 appearances for Sauber in 2017 as a stand-by to the injured Pascal Wehrlein. Since then, Giovinazzi has been sidelined in a non-racing role with Ferrari along with few odd races in other categories.
He completed in-season testing with both Ferrari and Sauber earlier in the season and returned to the cockpit during a F1 race weekend in the German GP’s FP1 session. He is also scheduled for another FP1 run this weekend in Russia.
Team principal Frederic Vassuer said: “We first signed Kimi Raikkonen, an extremely experienced driver who will contribute to the development of our car and will accelerate the progress of our team as a whole.
“Together with Alfa Romeo, we are delighted to welcome Antonio Giovinazzi, who will take the place of Charles Leclerc. We have already had the opportunity to work with him in the past and he has proven to have great potential.”
The news means Ericsson, who has been with Sauber since 2015 is left with no drive but the Swede will stay on with the Swiss outfit as the team’s new reserve driver and a brand ambassador.