Sauber has today confirmed that Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi will join Kimi Raikkonen at the team in 2019.
It will be the Italians first full-time race seat since coming runner-up to Pierre Gasly in the 2016 GP2 championship after which he was signed by Ferrari as the third driver.
He then drove for Sauber in the first two races of 2017 replacing the the injured Pascal Wherlein. In 2018 he is completing a series of FP1 runs for Sauber and tests for Ferrari.
“This is a dream come true,” said Giovinazzi.
“And it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team. As an Italian, it is a huge honour 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.”
Giovinazzi will be the first Italian Formula 1 driver since Juano Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi in 2011. And according to Sauber is the only Ferrari driver in their 2019 line up with Raikkonen said to be a separate deal.
“The decision to elect Antonio Giovinazzi is particularly significant in the scope of the project that this season saw the return of Alfa Romeo to the pinnacle of motorsports after a hiatus of more than 30 years,” said a statement from Sauber.
“The coming together of Alfa Romeo and the Italian driver was natural, also considering the strong bond that has tied Giovinazzi to the brand from an early age, and is a source of national pride considering that several years have passed since an Italian driver has competed in Formula 1.”
Sauber also said that Ericsson would be kept on as a third driver and brand ambassador, similar to what Jenson Button did with Mclaren in 2017.