It’s been rumoured for years, and now it’s finally official – Alfa Romeo is making a return to Formula 1 racing in 2018 after more than 30 years away from the sport. The company signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement with Sauber, and will see the team race in Alfa Romeo colours and logos and with up-to-date 2018 Ferrari engines.

The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, as it will be called, will form a strategic, commercial and technological cooperation with the Milanese carmaker in all applicable areas of development, including access to engineering know-how and expertise of Alfa Romeo technical staff. There will be additional opportunities for the two companies in both Formula 1 and the automotive sector in general, says Alfa Romeo.

A new livery was revealed over the weekend on a 2013 Sauber C32, with a red and white colour scheme featuring large Alfa Romeo logos on the nose and engine cover. The team has also revealed that its current test driver Charles Leclerc, a Monégasque racer from the Ferrari Driver Academy who won this year’s Formula 2 championship, has been promoted to a full-time seat alongside Marcus Ericsson starting in 2018.

“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,” said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Alfa Romeo CEO Sergio Marchionne. “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.”

Sauber chairman Pascal Picci added, “Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport. We are confident that together we can bring the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team great success, and look forward to a long and successful partnership.”