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Alfa Romeo leaves Formula 1 as Audi prepares for 2026 Sauber takeover

Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Sauber Motorsport comes to a close at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend

Alfa Romeo F1 car

After a six-year alliance with Sauber Motorsport, Alfa Romeo has confirmed that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be its last. The storied Italian manufacturer reappeared in top-level motorsport in 2018 with backing from the late Sergio Marchionne – the former Ferrari CEO intended for the team to be a training ground for young drivers. Charles Leclerc is the most notable Alfa Romeo graduate, driving for the team in its first year before moving to the works Ferrari team. 

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Alfa Romeo didn’t replicate the success it achieved in the sport’s early years (it won the first two driver’s championships in 1950 and 1951), but challenging for podiums and wins wasn’t necessarily the goal. The brand’s presence in the sport has supported a six-year marketing campaign to raise its profile around the world, while the technical partnership with Sauber helped inform some of its road car projects – namely the Giulia GTA and GTAm, which use Sauber-developed aero modifications. 

To celebrate the six-year stint in Formula 1, Alfa’s C43 racer will sport a unique livery in Abu Dhabi with the number six spread across its bodywork. But there are signs that Alfa Romeo isn’t putting its motorsport projects to bed entirely, as hinted at by the firm’s CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato:

‘When you close such an important chapter in the history of a brand, it's time to take stock. For Alfa Romeo, this F1 adventure represented an international showcase at the highest level, as well as a profound human and sporting experience. In my humble opinion, the return on investment from the work we have done here has been the most positive in my entire career. The benefits in terms of visibility serve as a benchmark for the entire Stellantis group. Alfa Romeo has competition in its DNA and will return to thrill its fans as soon as possible, when the conditions are right.’

The Sauber team is expected to race under its own branding for the next two seasons, with Audi preparing to step in for the pivotal 2026 regulation change with its own chassis and powertrain.

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