The newly-rebranded Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 team has confirmed Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc will step up to a full-time race seat for the 2018 season, partnering the retained Marcus Ericsson.
Sauber announced back in July it would be entering an expanded technical partnership with Ferrari from 2018, with the deal leading to a rebrand under the Alfa Romeo name, a brand also owned by the Fiat-Chrysler Alliance.
In a press conference held in Milan on Saturday, Sauber confirmed it would be retaining Ericsson for a fourth season alongside the incoming Leclerc, who replaces Mercedes-backed Pascal Wehrlein.
The team also unveiled its new white and red colors for the 2018 season via a concept livery, replacing the blue design it has raced with since 2015.
Having lost out to Ericsson in the race for the second Sauber seat alongside Leclerc, Ferrari youngster Antonio Giovinazzi has been appointed as the team’s third and reserve driver for the 2018 season.
Giovinazzi deputized for Pascal Wehrlein when injured for two races at the start of the year, taking a best finish of P12 on debut in Australia.
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.