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Alfa Romeo back in F1 with Sauber after more than 30 years

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Alfa Romeo has joined up with the Sauber team for a return to Formula One after an absence of more than 30 years.

Sauber said Wednesday it has reached a “multi-year technical and commercial partnership” with the Italian automaker, which is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

From 2018, the team will be known as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. Next year’s car will bear the Alfa Romeo logo and will be equipped with Ferrari power units.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the deal marks “a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand.”

The Alfa name last appeared in F1 in 1985, although its biggest achievements came during the series’ first two years, when Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1950 and 1951 titles in Alfas.

Ferrari junior program and Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc is expected to drive for Sauber next season and there is also speculation that Antonio Giovinazzi, another Ferrari product, could become the team’s second driver.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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