Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2018

Giovinazzi to join Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019, leaving Ericsson without a drive

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Sauber has confirmed Antonio Giovinazzi will join Kimi Raikkonen in an all-new line-up at the team for the 2019 F1 season.

Giovinazzi’s arrival will leave incumbent Marcus Ericsson without a drive for next year.

Officially, Giovinazzi is taking Leclerc’s place at the team, according to a statement: “Following its tradition of discovering and nurturing young talents, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has appointed the Italian driver, who has worked with the team for the past two years, to race in place of Charles Leclerc.”

Team principal Frederic Vasseur said they are “very pleased to reveal the complete driver line-up for the 2019 season.”

“We first signed Kimi Räikkönen, an extremely experienced driver who will contribute to the development of our car and will accelerate the progress of our team as a whole,” said Vasseur.

“Together with Alfa Romeo, we are delighted to welcome Antonio Giovinazzi, who will take the place of Charles Leclerc. We have already had the opportunity to work with him in the past and he has proven to have great potential.

“We are very determined and motivated. Our target is to continue progressing and fighting together for positions that count.”

Giovinazzi said the news is a “dream come true.”

“It is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team,” said the 24-year-old. “As an Italian, it is a huge honour for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport.

“I would like to thank the Scuderia Ferrari and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for giving me this great opportunity. I am very motivated and cannot wait to start working towards achieving great results together.”

Giovinazzi made two starts for the team last year as a substitute for Pascal Wehrlein.

View the current list of 2019 F1 drivers and teams

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

98 comments on “Giovinazzi to join Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019, leaving Ericsson without a drive”

  1. Ha ha, you have misinterpreted their article, they say that Kimi is arriving and Giovinazzi is replacing Leclerc so Ericsson must still be there somewhere!? I jest!

    Anyway, that seems like a good line up for a team of that size, good on them, Vasseur is doing some good work over there and credit to the whole team for a good year so far already!

    1. Wouldn’t be the first time they’d have 3 drivers… :)

      1. Didn’t they have 4 at one point?!

        1. Let’s ask Giedo ;)

        2. Original.


    2. I was about to say the same thing!

      who will take the place of Charles Leclerc

      – wait a tick…

    3. @georgetuk what they mean (reading between the lines) is that they need one seat for young talent (giovanisi replacing Leclerc) and one with financial backing (Raikonen with Ferrari money instead of Eriksson).

      1. There’s no Ferrari money in Raikonen deal. They will make money out of the new sponsorships.

        1. Maybe not, but discount engines? extra tech support?

  2. Yep, seems Vasseur has landed and are allowed to execute.
    Good for him he left the Abiteboul – moving agenda micro management snake-style..ish.

    1. Maybe Zak Brown can become test team principle and learn a few tricks from Vasseur.

  3. Sauber always kicks drivers scoring points. After pointless seasons seeing his teammate leaving at the end, Ericsson accidentally scored points and has to leave.

    I’m sure such talent will be back to F1 next season or maybe later! No, I’m joking, he is not even good enough for F Rejects and Retirees.

    1. @dusty Yes, but he’s still only managed to score 6 points against his teammates 15.

      1. and vandoorne got what against Alonso?

        1. Alonso is a 2 times world champion, just that. Is not that i’m defending Vandoorne, i’m not convinced of his talent either, but the comparison was unfortunate.

  4. Great news! I realised that Sauber were serious about their future in F1 when they signed Kimi, and knew it was inevitable that Marcus would be replaced as well. Glad for Giovinazzi … he definitely deserves a shot at F1.

    Ericsson has had a great ride in F1, but we all knew it was a just a matter of time before a more worthy talent takes his spot. At least Ericsson performed well in his last season in F1, so I don’t think he can be too disappointed. I don’t see any other team looking to sign him … although with cash hungry Williams on the grid… you never know.

    1. Kimi for a future in F1 sure, im surprised they didnt pick Massa as his teammate.

      1. Kimi is a major asset for Sauber because he brings sponsors and fans with him, so for the team is a big step to improvement to sign him.

      2. @rethla

        Dude.. they signed a WDC and removed a pay driver. I think Kimi will help them a lot in developing the car over the next 2 seasons.

        1. We all know that Kimi has seen his best days pass him by and he has been utterly flogged by Alonso and Vettel, but Ericsson over Kimi? Hardly!

        2. @todfod
          They didnt sign Kimi. They got him forcefully traded with Leclerc and Ferrari probably still pays him. I dont mind them giving Giovinazzi a go after Ericsson have failed to deliver for so long but Kimi wont be there for long. It would be hilarious if Ericsson replaces Kimi in a year, or even earlier than that if Kimi decides to ragequit like in Lotus.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            26th September 2018, 18:30


            WFT? So despite reports stating that Ferrari didn’t know anything about Kimi’s deal and Kimi’s reps reporting that he just went and had a conversation with Sauber who jumped at the opportunity, somehow you assumed that a WDC with millions of fans who regularly finishes on the podium could only replace the Mr average Tetra-Pak paid driver at Sauber with Ferrari strong arming?
            Your reasoning is impeccable!

          2. @davewillisporter Those reports are about as trustworthy as Toto saying they dont play mindgames with the pitcrew during races.

            Kimi is the perfect driver to replace an avarage tetra pack driver but hardly what a team competing for points would pay for.

        3. Hard to say about that, specially because, by the looks of it, Sauber is becoming something like Haas for next year meaning that they will have a one year old specs Ferrari car and, probably, will have to develop the car in a way that favors the Scuderia’s new model.

    2. “Good news, everyone!”

  5. I’d be keeping my eyes peeled for Ericsson in Grove…

    1. Motorsport seem to think he’s been kept on as 3rd driver/ reserve

      1. Just seen the article on here confirming that. I made my comment 29 minutes before that was posted. Glad Ericsson isn’t going to be heading to Grove…he seems like a good dude but I like to hope that this year’s line-up is as bad as it will get for Williams.

        1. @geemac Williams tends to leave the driver selection quite late possibly to pick up good leftover for a cheap price. At this stage a line up Occon – Vandoorne would look like a huge improvement to their actual one.

          Maybe lacking some backing but should make up with extra points during the season.
          Will come after Haas has its pick though.

          1. If I was running Williams I’d tear your arm off for an Ocon/Vandoorne line-up for 2019…

          2. But who will pay for vandoor e /ocon. Not toto at least and Williams need the money.

          3. @geemac Ocon/Russell feels like a better alternative in my opinion

  6. Good for Sauber. And a shout out to Toto who said teams don’t have balls anymore to hire drivers. So far, next year’s grid looks awesome.

    1. The driver roster next year is really looking quite nicely @fer-no65, maybe apart from “growing and getting better” Stroll at FI, and question marks over what STR will be doing.

      1. @bascb and Haas, they haven’t confirmed their line-up yet, but at this point it feels like they won’t change it

        1. indeed, you are right about Haas @johnmilk, but from what they have been saying recently I sort of filed them as keeping their drivers! Also both of them are pretty solid, although Grosjean should focus more instead of going wild

    2. @fer-no65
      To be fair he said teams didnt have the balls to back up previous agreements.

  7. It’s good that Ericcson is leaving, but:
    – Giovinazzi isn’t that special, he’s good not great. An improvement, but there are going to be better drivers around without a seat
    – It’s pretty frustrating that the only access to F1 right now is either a lot of money or a constructor/engine manufacturer. Independent talent is done.

    1. – It’s pretty frustrating that the only access to F1 right now is either a lot of money or a constructor/engine manufacturer. Independent talent is done.

      Stoffel likes this.

    2. We have to find out if Giovinazzi is any good, don’t we? I don’t think Ferrari would promote an average driver to a race seat in F1. He almost won GP2 in his rookie year.

      Independent talent was never a thing in F1, all drivers that have ever come to this sport are either associated with a motorsport brand or F1 team or have other resources behind them, meaning they are themselves wealthy or have an association with a wealthy sponsor or both. And lets not forget ex-F1 drivers’ sons and various relatives. (from Damon Hill and Villeneuve to Bruno Senna, Nelson Piquet Jnr., Magnussen, Verstappen or even Sainz)

    3. Giovinazzi is a Gasly-tier driver.
      So yes, he deserves to be in F1.

  8. Really bad news, I hope they will collapse totally…

    1. Marcus, is that you?

      1. @geemac
        Not Marcus, but a bloke with a next-level sense of humour. After all, he suggested that Ericsson should be considered a Star Performer of the Italian GP for … crashing in free practice.

        1. Yes I did, only because he was walking away from that 325 km/h barrier crash after just brushing off the dust from the shoulders.

          1. If you can find he video …. check out Ericcson’s Monza practice crash.
            He was in the middle of the track, under very heavy braking from high speed and jiggng left to get on-line. Pretty straight forward recipe for a spin. Which is exactly what happened.
            Other drivers I saw were either straight lining it to the corner entrance or further left under braking.
            Not the sort of move you would expect from a driver with his experience. Can’t imagine what that cost Sauber in terms of parts and lost prep for the race.

          2. @rekibsn You missed Leclercs approach just befor Ericsson then.

  9. This made me whoop.

    Not that I don’t like Ericsson, more that I think he’s had his chance and has reached his potential.

    1. It’s too bad, as well, with the new regulations somewhat helping out the taller, bigger drivers. Though part of those regs could have been rolled out this year, I can’t remember. I was thinking they might help Ericsson show more of his potential.

      1. @rpiian, yes, you are correct that Ericsson would have benefited quite a bit from the proposals to even out weight differences between drivers in 2019 – Ericsson is, at 1.80m, one of the tallest drivers in the field, and it means he is also one of the heavier drivers in the field as well.

        For example, when you look at his relative performance against Wehrlein, whilst Wehrlein might have had a slight advantage in qualifying trim, that might well have been simply because Wehrlein was lighter and smaller.

        It has previously been reported that Ericsson had to run 8-10kg heavier than Wehrlein when they raced together, and the average difference between Wehrlein and Ericsson in qualifying trim was in fact less than the advantage that Wehrlein gained on average from being lighter. It suggests that, weight corrected, Ericsson was actually faster than Wehrlein, so he probably is being disadvantaged by being taller and heavier than most other drivers in the field.

        In fact, quite a few of the more heavily derided drivers in the field are likely to gain a lot more out of the proposed changes – Sirotkin is the joint tallest driver in the field (1.84m high), with Stroll being the next tallest (1.82m high), and those two drivers are also some of the heaviest in the field.

        It is worth noting that the proposed changes for 2019 are also likely to be good news for Giovinazzi too – he’s 8cm taller and apparently 7kg heavier than Kimi (Giovinazzi is said to be 1.83m tall and 70kg), so the 2019 rule changes are favourable for him too.

    2. But he never reached strolls potential.

      1. Noone will ever reach Strolls potential because it doesnt exist.

  10. This may not be a popular opinion, but I expect him to have the measure of Raikkonen, especially towards the end of the season. Raikkonen has suffered when cars don’t give him the front-end he likes, and that was still when he was driving front-running cars. A Sauber will be a completely different beast, and not in a good way.

    1. Fikri Harish (@)
      25th September 2018, 15:00

      I don’t know dude.
      By all measure, pre-Renault Enstone has considerably less resource than Ferrari and they had little problem with giving Raikkonen the tools he needed to perform.
      I mean okay, they had James Allison then but Simone Resta is at Sauber now and he’s been doing a pretty good job at Ferrari the past few years.

      I am excited to see how fast can he adapt to F1 though. Ocon, Leclerc, Verstappen and Gasly set a pretty high bar there.

      1. @marinatedmonolith Lotus were able to give Kimi the car that he needed, but that was because that Lotus was one of the best cars on the field during 2012-2013. Kimi wasn’t the only one; Grosjean found a level of consistency in those Lotus cars, which is something that has eluded him in Haas. I personally think it would be unreasonable to expect Sauber to be at the front of the midfield next season, and the development of the C38 is probably in a very late stage now, so I doubt it was built with Kimi in mind. I may turn out to be wrong, but I expect us to see a Kimi who is struggling at Sauber. He isn’t a driver who really adapts to the car, but a driver that needs the car to adapt to him. Resta couldn’t manage it in 3 years at Ferrari, so what’s to suggest he can at Sauber.

        1. Fikri Harish (@)
          26th September 2018, 7:32

          That’s a bit of a faulty logic though, implying that simply because the Lotus of 2012-2013 were great cars that automatically, they are cars that Raikkonen are comfortable with.
          The quality of the car itself doesn’t always translate to drivability and vice versa. It is possible that while next year’s Sauber might not be class of the midfield, as long as it’s a car that Raikkonen is actually comfortable with, then I see no reason why he won’t be able to perform.

          And given that Raikkonen took pole at Monza and his improving form over the last two years or so, clearly Resta is capable of giving what Raikkonen wants while still not sacrificing Vettel’s pace.
          Raikkonen might be a washout but he has a wealth of experience, and that’s not something that Gio can easily overcome.

          1. @marinatedmonolith, the Lotus team were heavily centred around Kimi whilst he was there, since he was their designated No.1 driver.

            They might have given him what he wanted, but that was at the expense of Grosjean – it was particularly pronounced in 2013, where for much of the season Kimi was one upgrade package ahead of Grosjean, and when Grosjean did get upgraded parts, they were usually the used parts from Kimi’s car.

            Those upgrade packages were also designed with Kimi’s requirements in mind too – for example, the introduction of a car with a lengthened wheelbase later on in the season was intended to adapt the car to Kimi’s driving style by making the car less sensitive to forward weight transfer.

            For the street circuits, they also introduced steering rack upgrade packages that were bespoke to Kimi, although he was still unhappy with the handling balance even then – his poor performance in the 2013 Monaco GP was ascribed in part to the fact that he was unwilling to try and adapt to that specific steering rack.

            There is a strong argument that he did well in 2012 and 2013 at Lotus because the team built the car to fit him, and because the team were prepared to compromise Grosjean’s performance by throwing most of their resources at Kimi – once it became clear that Kimi was leaving the team and the team gave Grosjean more support, his performances improved markedly.

          2. @marinatedmonolith I fail to see how Raikkonen getting pole in Monza has anything to do with Resta. Resta left the team at the end of last season, a season in which Kimi was terrible, no two ways about it. One or two good races a year doesn’t make his season OK.

  11. Yes! Finally an Italian :)
    I have high expectations from Giovinazzi, and I also expect a sharp reduction in “Giovinacci” and related mispellings on this site.

    1. Actually, “Giovanazzi” seems to be the most common misspelling/-pronunciation of his name by anglophones.
      But hey, we’ve had Barrichello and Fisichella, and they turned out alright.

      1. And Alguersuari…

        1. Don’t forget Wherlien…

    2. @stefanauss finally, yay! Who was the last, Liuzzi? Well, actually Antonio drove for Sauber in the opening races of 2017.

      1. Of course, but I was thinking about a full-season seat for an Italian, at last :)
        I think Trulli was the last one in 2013

      1. You’re right, it’s “Giovanacci” that I read here! Check it out ;-)

        1. @stefanauss
          Correction: “Giovannacci” with a double n.

          Most relevant spellings on this site so far:
          Giovinazzi: 329
          Giovanazzi: 61
          Giovannacci: 1 (not including this thread)
          Giovanacci/Giovinacci: 1 each, both in this thread.

          So far, he’s been written correctly about 84.5% of the time.
          As far as useless stats go, I think this one takes the cake. :-)

          1. 2019 F1 season stats and facts

          2. +1
            Or is it ‘the biscuit’…? ;)

          3. that’s stat of the year right there

  12. Unsurprising.

  13. Damn. Was really hoping Fred would get Vandoorne into that seat

  14. So Alfa Romeo money speaks stronger than the Swiss investors? Good of Ferrari to start pipelining youngsters.

  15. Merc needs an offical “b” team…

    1. Williams. They dont care much for it though.

  16. Clearly Sauber becoming a B team to Ferrari, and what better than Kimi being the ‘Karate Kid Master’ for Giovanazzi who might be the future star in Italian car ? How much Sauber will be competitive depends on the will of Ferrari and its direct involvment in 2019 car . I have a feeling Sauber will become the best Ferarri engined car after the works one and will be in terms of performance the fastest after the works teams. So we have happy Kimi – he is with his famili in Switzerland , car is going to be competitive in terms of power and driveability – he knows what he wants from a car and it will be delivered to him, and he is a master teacher to Giovanazzi.

    1. GIOViNAZZI.

      1. My point exactly.

    2. Agree. Currently, Haas is the B team, but it’s clear that Ferrari have more of an interest in promoting the Alfa Romeo brand and setting up a Toro Rosso style team for themselves. They’ve already sent some senior technical staff to Sauber along with Kimi and their test driver, so it’s obvious that there will be a close collaboration between Ferrari and Sauber for years to come. As you rightly said, they’ll be the 2nd quickest Ferrari powered team on the grid really soon.

      Haas might be a little gutted about this. They just borrowed Ferrari’s chassis and everything else they could to get a competitive car. Maybe now they should start taking on tasks that are actually required by racing teams.

  17. Not exactly suprising but as a huge Ericsson fan it’s indeed very sad news.
    A bit disappointed about that they didn’t take a chance on someone with a higher potential like vandoorne. Instead of Giovinazzi who i believe is on par with Marcus with the main differences being backed by Ferrari instead of sponsors.

    1. @aostrand
      Well the main difference is that Ericsson has had a long go in F1 already and didnt really impress, its ironic that he gets the boot just as his weight defecit is about to be neutralised but you know hes 28 and not exactly a promising rookie anymore.

      I agree that there are more interesting drivers out there than Givoinazzi but then again they got Kimi in the other seat and Stroll is singel handedly destroying two teams so with Giovinazzi i take what i can get.

  18. Look Toto look. This is what you do with your junior drivers. Ferrari finally doing what Red Bull perfected few years ago (although they went overboard and fired all of their junior drivers later).

    Kudos to Ferrari and Sauber for taking a punt on Giovanazzi. I am not going to read much into the 2 races he already had. I mean, Stoffel beat Jenson to the points in his one-off race and Vettel lost to Nick Heifield in his. And look what happened to both their careers after that.

    A clean slate for Giovanazzi next year and a good benchmark in Kimi to measure against.

    1. I feel Merc and Frank/Claire really need to sort out their shortsightedness… before junior drivers lose all respect for the Merc ‘scheme’ (if they haven’t done so already…) and before Williams is with the bailiffs – which would be rather sad…
      Or is that what Toto is waiting for…?

  19. Good for Giovinazzi to get a full season under his belt. I remember Ferrari saying (couple years back) that they won’t sign an italian driver because the pressures/expiations would be too high. Maybe Gio could become a future driver for the reds?

    1. What better practice than to start your Ferrari F1 career with the perfect Ferrari B driver in a Ferrari B team.

      1. If he shows he’s as good (or better) than Kimi, he’s got a shot at a Ferrari drive. It’ll be tough but that’s clearly the challenge they’ve put to him. I wondered why Ferrari arranged for Kimi to continue in F1 with Sauber….

  20. As a swede this is somewhat good news. Since Marcus entered F1 all the commentators talk about is how he is doing in p16 whilst we have an amazing battle at the front. Hopefully they will start concentrating on drivers that actually deserve our attention. But i fear that the lack of a swedish driver on the grid will lower the interest in the sport in Sweden.

  21. Wish him luck, and hope he doesn’t put himself under pressure to impress.
    So Just Haas left to confirm next years drivers. If there is no change there, it will be just them and Mercedes with an unchanged lineup. I can’t remember when last F1 went through so many changes in one season. So far, 8 teams with one or two driver changes.

    1. 2014: Only two teams had an unchanged lineup from the previous year. Hamilton and Rosberg at Mercedes and Bianchi and Chilton at Marussia.

  22. It’s incredible Italy has not been represented in F1 for some time now. I think Ferrari had sort of gone for French Italians in recent times.

  23. It really should have been Wehrlein driving the 2018 sauber anyway, Ericsson’s F1 career was only goin to last as long as someone needed his funding.

  24. Ferrari are in some sort of trouble after this announcement. Giovinazzi is a very capable development driver and his work has been acknowledged by all the Ferrari stuff. I remember this year that in one race (Silverstone if I’m not wrong) Ferrari was nowhere in Friday but Giovinazzi kept working on the simulator till 3am until he found the right balance of the SF71-H which got Ferrari pole and eventually the race win.

    1. They can always get Vandoorne, like they did with Kvyat last year.

      1. @afonic

        Don’t think Stoffel will be interested in a development driver role. He’ll be looking for a race seat in some series or the other.

  25. My predictions for the final seats:

    Force India
    Sergio Perez
    Lance Stroll

    Toro Rosso
    Daniil Kvyat
    Brendon Hartley

    Kevin Magnussen
    Romain Grosjean

    Sergey Sirotkin
    George Russell

    1. You think they will keep Brendon Hartley? I think not, now that they likely will have Kvyat as a yardstick. I don’t know who else would take the seat though.


  26. Happy for Antonio Giovinazzi, I think he deserves a seat. I think he finished 11th or 12th in his 1st race in Australia but of course made a big mistake twice in China (or Bahrain?).

    I hope he does well, Kimi will be a good teammate that he can learn from, many are saying Kimi should have left and given the seat to a young guy & that’s a fair point, but Kimi will help Sauber next year in a big way.

Comments are closed.