Ferrari youngster Antonio Giovinazzi will form an all-new driver line-up at Sauber alongside Kimi Raikkonen in 2019
Following the promotion of Charles Leclerc to Ferrari in place of Raikkonen, 2016 GP2 runner-up Giovinazzi will join Raikkonen next season, with Marcus Ericsson losing his race seat. Giovinazzi made two reserve appearances for Sauber at the start of last season but becomes the first Italian to race full-time in Formula 1 since Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jarno Trulli in 2011.
“I am delighted to be joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team,” Giovinazzi said. “This is a dream come true, and it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team. As an Italian, it is a huge honor for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport.
“I would like to thank the Scuderia Ferrari and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for giving me this great opportunity. I am very motivated and cannot wait to start working towards achieving great results together.”
Aside from his two race appearances at the start of last year, Giovinazzi has also made a number of FP1 appearances for Sauber, and team principal Frederic Vasseur has been impressed by the Italian’s performances.
“We are very pleased to reveal the complete driver line-up for the 2019 season,” Vasseur 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. We are very determined and motivated. Our target is to continue progressing and fighting together for positions that count.”
With Giovinazzi officially replacing Leclerc, Ericsson’s seat has been taken by 2007 drivers’ world champion Raikkonen. Ericsson has raced for Sauber since 2015 but has scored just six points so far this season, compared to 15 for Leclerc. Sauber has retained the Swede as its third driver and brand ambassador next year.