The legendary Alfa Romeo name will make a return to Grand Prix racing in 2018 after securing a partnership with the Swiss Sauber team for the 2018 season. Returning to Formula One for the first time in three decades, the new partnership between the Sauber Formula One Team and Alfa Romeo is a major coup for the struggling Swiss outfit. Aimed as more than just a simple branding exercise thanks to close links with Ferrari over these past few years, it has been reported that the new partnership will be both on a technical and commercial level and should run for "multiple" years. Sauber have long been rumoured to be courting the legendary Italian brand, a rumour made all the more serious when the Swiss team walked away from a potential works engine deal from Honda earlier in the season, a move that reportedly expedited the resignation of highly regarded Team Principle Monisha Kaltenborn from her long standing role within the team. However all has now become clear with regards to the future of the team, having confirmed this historic partnership that sees one of the most iconic and significant brands return to Formula One for the first time in over 30 years. Speaking of the deal announced yesterday, Ferrari Chairman and Alfa Romeo CEO Sergio Marchionne was delighted to confirm the return of the four leaf clover to top level motorsport competition; “This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years,” “A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 Team’s undisputed experience. Sceptics will soon jump on the fact that this deal isn't exactly a fully fledged return of the brand, with no actual new engine coming from the manufacturer tie up, however Marchionne was keen to stress Alfa will be bringing more to the party than just a famous brand; “The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelvio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 Team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history.” From the 2018 season the Swiss team will now be branded Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula One Team. Due to the strengthened ties with both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo it is thought the squad will be taking on at least one driver from the Marinello junior driver programme, with 2017 F2 champion Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi both in with a chance alongside current drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein for a drive in the rebranded outfit next year. Check out the Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment for more news from the premier open wheel series in the world. Like what you see here at RaceDepartment? Don't forget to like, subscribe and follow us on social media! RaceDepartment YouTube RaceDepartment Twitter RaceDepartment Facebook RaceDepartment Twitch RaceDepartment Instagram Do you think the deal to secure Alfa backing is the right move for Sauber? Can the link between team and manufacturer yield solid results, or is it more of a marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments section below!