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Antonio Giovinazzi to Race for Sauber F1 in 2019

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Antonio Giovinazzi for Sauber

Sauber has announced that Antonio Giovinazzi will race alongside Kimi Räikkönen for the Formula One team in 2019. This will also mark the end of Marcus Ericsson’s three-year run with Sauber and four-year stint in the sport as a full-time driver, though he’ll remain with the team as third driver and brand ambassador.

This means that Sauber will have a completely new driver lineup next year, following Charles Leclerc’s move up to Ferrari.

Giovinazzi, 24, is an Italian racing driver belonging to Ferrari’s young driver program. He raced for Sauber on two occasions at the start of the 2017 season, when Pascal Wehrlein was injured. It will be his first full-time racing season since GP2 in 2016, where he finished 2nd behind Pierre Gasly. He has also on occasion tested for Haas and Ferrari.

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“We are delighted to welcome Antonio Giovinazzi, who will take the place of Charles Leclerc,” said Frederic Vasseur, Sauber F1 Team Principal. “We have already had the opportunity to work with him in the past and he has proven to have great potential.”

The decision to hire Giovinazzi seems to reinforce the widely accepted but unofficial point that Sauber is now little more than Ferrari’s B-team. The official account is that Ferrari is able to nominate one driver for Sauber through its technical partnership, but that seems at odds with Sauber letting go of its best driver for Räikkönen, and then replacing Ericsson with a Ferrari academy driver.

In any case, it’s a great career move for Giovinazzi. He will have the chance to prove himself alongside a respected driver in Räikkönen, who will not only act as a solid comparison metric but who can also provide strong insights to help develop the car.

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