Sauber test driver Antonio Giovinazzi will be promoted to a full-time driver for next season after the Swiss F1 Team announced the 24-year old will be partnering departing Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.

The news surfaced in a press release from the team expressing Giovinazzi as a “natural” choice for the Alfa Romeo brand putting an Italian driver into an Italian title sponsored team.

“I am delighted to be joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team” spoke Giovinazzi after the announcement. “This is a dream come true, and it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team.

“As an Italian, it is a huge honour for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport.

The 2016 GP2 Series runner-up becomes the first season-long Italian driver to have a seat in Formula 1 in eight years back when Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi were with Lotus-Renault and HRT respectively in 2011.

“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.”

“We’re very pleased to reveal the complete driver line-up for the 2019 season,” added Frédéric Vasseur, CEO and Team Principal of Sauber.

“We are delighted to welcome Antonio Giovinazzi [who] we have already had the opportunity to work with him in the past. He has proven to have great potential [and] we are very determined and motivated.

“Our target is to continue progressing and fighting together for positions that count.”

Antonio Giovinazzi made his Formula One debut with Sauber at the last year’s Australian Grand Prix in place for the injured Pascal Wehrlein at the time.

The 24-year old has so far completed two Grand Prix weekends and participated in several tests and FP1 sessions with the Swiss team.

He becomes the twelfth driver of twenty to be confirmed for the 2019 season.

Words by Luke McCullough

Image via Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

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Luke McCullough

Melbourne Based - 17 Grand Prix attendances and counting in Australia, Singapore, Canada, France, Austria and Great Britain.