Sauber confirms Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson as 2018 race line-up

Sauber unveils concept 2018 Alfa Romeo livery

"I would also like to thank Sauber for their trust and confidence in me as a driver and look forward to joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming season".

"For now I'm a Ferrari fan, but if Alfa Romeo Sauber do well that would of course be very welcome", Marchionne said.

During a press conference held at Alfa Romeo's museum on Saturday, Leclerc and Ericsson took the wraps off the squad's proposed 2018 livery, which was presented on one of the team's showcars.

Leclerc made four free practice sessions with Sauber in 2017 having done likewise with the Haas F1 Team in 2016, and he is looking to gain even more experience in his rookie campaign in Formula 1 next season.

The auto is predominantly white with red accents, and large Alfa Romeo logos after the Swiss team confirmed a deal with the manufacturer.

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The decision leaves German driver Pascal Wehrlein, Ericsson's team-mate this year, facing an uncertain future.

F2 champion LeClerc had always been expected to make the jump to the pinnacle of motorsport.

"Formula One is the natural reference point for a marque like this", he said.

The significance of Alfa Romeo's return to the sport was highlighted by the presence of F1 chairman Chase Carey and FIA president Jean Todt.

Sauber finished bottom of the constructors' championship last season and team principal Frederic Vasseur is hoping the partnership with Alfa Romeo will push it swiftly up the standings.

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