After years of being active in Le Mans (and achieving success there), Peter Sauber made the move to Formula 1. He didn’t use engines from Mercedes like Le Mans, but initially with power sources from Ilmor. One year later, Mercedes bought a stake in the British manufacturer and Sauber appeared at the start of the season with engines bearing Mercedes' name.
The partnership only lasted one year: it was Mercedes that pulled the plug. Sauber switched to Ford's engines in 1995 and also saw another familiar name from the current grid step aboard: Red Bull. The energy drink manufacturer bought up part of Sauber's shares, after which the Swiss racing team achieved better results. Initially, they succeeded, but a year later Sauber slumped again. Engine supplier Ford was pushed aside and this time Ferrari could try to turn the tide.
An approach similar to what Haas have these days, was seen at Sauber until 2005. It bought almost all parts from Ferrari. It turned out not to be a problem for the FIA. As long as it made the chassis itself, the organisation saw no problem in the controversial approach.
A very young Kimi Raikkonen appeared at Sauber in 2001 and took a seat in one of the two seats. The Finn shocked many and finished tenth in his rookie season, but not before Red Bull had sold all the shares.
That same year, 2005, BMW took over a stake in Sauber and appeared at the start of 2006 with engines from the German manufacturer. It was a partnership that also lasted only a few years, before BMW announced its departure from Formula One. Between 2006 and 2009 Sauber did not compete in the championship and in 2010 it returned to the grid with engines from Ferrari.
Alfa Romeo Racing
In 2017, Frederic Vasseur came to the helm of Sauber and began a major clean-up. This would last for the rest of the season. Only in the following season would it reap the benefits. At the end of the year, they revealed they will be reestablishing their once close partnership with Ferrari and Sauber would be on the grid as Alfa Romeo-Sauber from 2018. Part of that partnership was the hiring of Charles Leclerc as a racer, alongside Marcus Ericsson.
Points were gained by the team in that year mainly because of Leclerc, who then became Raikkonen's replacement at Ferrari in 2019. Raikkonen returned to the team where he made his debut in 2001. Next to 'The iceman' they put Ferrari protégé Antonio Giovinazzi, as part of the conversion to Alfa Romeo-Sauber. The driving duo had the task of using its experience to take the Sauber to the top of the midfield, albeit under the Alfa Romeo Racing name.
In 2019, Alfa Romeo once again reached eighth place in the standings and picked up a lot of points especially before the winter break. After this, Giovinazzi gained some more points, but the lack of finances still broke the racing team. The years 2020 and 2021 were extremely difficult for the Swiss team.
Alfa Romeo in 2023
Alfa Romeo had an extremely successful year in 2022. Especially in the first half of the season, Bottas and Zhou finished in the points with regularity and Bottas in particular performed very consistently. Later in the season, the team struggled a bit, but managed to beat Aston Martin in the constructors' standings. During 2022, they also secured a deal with Audi. Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026, taking over Sauber.
Both teams ended the season with the same number of points, but Bottas' fifth place in Imola decided in Alfa Romeo's favour. It earned the team $12 million in additional prize money, a very welcome reward as the budget ceiling had not yet been reached in 2022.
Who will drive at Alfa Romeo Racing in Formula 1?
In 2023, Bottas and Zhou will once again fill the seats at the Swiss racing stable. After Bottas failed to make much of an impression at Mercedes in previous years, the Finn seems reborn at his new team. There, he has an important role to play in the growth of Alfa Romeo Racing.
Zhou previously showed he had the necessary dose of talent and certainly did not disappoint in his debut season in Formula 1. In 2023, however, he is no longer a rookie and they will keep an eye on how far the driver manages to develop his talents.
Which engine will Alfa Romeo Racing use?
As a customer team of Scuderia Ferrari, Sauber runs with the Italian's power unit in Formula 1. The latest specification of the Italian engine will also be found in the car next season, with which it hopes to achieve great success.