Alfa Romeo Sauber have confirmed Ferrari junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi as their second driver for 2019 alongside the returning Kimi Raikkonen.
Giovinazzi deposes Marcus Ericsson, who had been with the Swiss outfit for four years after debuting in Formula One with Caterham in 2014, while Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc have effectively swapped seats for next year.
Ericsson will continue with Sauber as their reserve driver and as a brand ambassador.
Having stood in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein at the start of 2017 for two race, Giovinazzi is no stranger to the Sauber set-up.
He will be the first Italian to drive permanently on the grid since Jarno Trulli’s ill-fated spell with Caterham ended in 2011.
Giovinazzi says he is honoured to represent the team and made reference to himself and the famous brand Alfa Romeo’s Italian roots.
“I am delighted to be joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. 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 honour for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport. I am very motivated and cannot wait to start working towards achieving great results together.”
Sauber chief executive Frederic Vasseur was delighted to have replaced the Ferrari-bound Leclerc with a like-for-like swap.
“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.”