Sauber recruit Antonio Giovinazzi to partner Kimi Raikkonen for 2019

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Formula One team Sauber have announced Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi will complete their new-look racing line-up alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

Sauber confirmed earlier this month that Finn Raikkonen would be joining them at the end of the season and Giovinazzi will partner him, becoming Formula One’s first full-time Italian driver since 2011.

“CONFIRMED: 2019 Driver Line-up Locked In @Anto_Giovinazzi will be an Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver from 2019,” Sauber revealed on Twitter.

“Antonio will line-up alongside #Kimi7 for us next season. Who’s excited to see these two together?”

The signing of 24-year-old Giovinazzi – a member of Ferrari’s young driver programme – means Marcus Ericsson loses his seat.

But Sauber have confirmed Swede Ericsson has been retained as their third driver.

“This is a dream come true and it is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team,” Giovinazzi told Formula One’s official website.

“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 raced twice for Sauber at the start of 2017, as a substitute for the injured Pascal Wehrlein in the Australian Grand Prix and the next race in China.

Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi were the last Italian drivers to race in formula One before they departed at the end of 2011.

Former world champion Raikkonen ended five years in his second spell with Ferrari when he signed a two-year deal with Sauber a fortnight ago.

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