F1 2019: Antonio Giovinazzi to partner Kimi Raikkonen at Sauber
Giovinazzi gets first full-time F1 seat; Marcus Ericsson retained as third driver and brand ambassador
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 04/12/18 5:49pm
Antonio Giovinazzi will partner Kimi Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019.
Marcus Ericsson will remain with the team as third driver and a brand ambassador.
The announcement means the Swiss team will run an entirely new driver line-up next season, following Charles Leclerc's promotion to Ferrari.
"This is a dream come true, and it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team," Giovinazzi said.
"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.
"I am very motivated and cannot wait to start working towards achieving great results together."
🚨 CONFIRMED: 2019 Driver Line-up Locked In 🚨@Anto_Giovinazzi will be an Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver from 2019— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) September 25, 2018
Antonio will line-up alongside #Kimi7 for us next season
Who's excited to see these two together?#WelcomeGio #f1 @F1 pic.twitter.com/dipRGvNyZa
Giovinazzi's rise to the top
Giovinazzi, part of Ferrari's young driver programme, raced twice for Sauber at the start of last season when Pascal Wehrlein was injured but this will be his first full-time race seat since the 2016 GP2 season.
He also drove for Sauber in Practice One at the German and Hungarian GPs and tested for the team in Hungary before the summer break.
Officially, Sauber said Giovinazzi was replacing Leclerc, with Ferrari believed to be able to nominate a driver as part of the Alfa Romeo partnership with Sauber.
"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," team principal Frederic Vasseur said.
"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."
The announcement means only eight seats remain unfilled for 2019, with Force India, Toro Rosso, Haas and Williams yet to confirm their line-ups.
Who's racing with who in F1 2019?
|MERCEDES||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas|
|FERRARI||Sebastian Vettel||Charles Leclerc|
|RED BULL||Max Verstappen||Pierre Gasly|
|RENAULT||Daniel Ricciardo||Nico Hulkenberg|
|MCLAREN||Carlos Sainz||Lando Norris|
|SAUBER||Kimi Raikkonen||Antonio Giovinazzi|