The partnership between the Sauber F1 Team and Alfa Romeo will not mean the Swiss outfit becoming a de facto junior team for Scuderia Ferrari, according to Team Principal Frederic Vasseur.
The team has been renamed the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and will run with Ferrari power units in 2018, while Ferrari Driver Academy star Charles Leclerc has replaced Mercedes-Benz protégé Pascal Wehrlein in the driver line-up.
Vasseur revealed that plans from executives within Alfa Romeo want the team to be a fully-fledged works team, rather than a B-team to Ferrari, but for now they have to rely on the partnership with Sauber.
“The company’s executives want a full-fledged Alfa Romeo team even though it has to rely on the Ferrari engine for the moment,” said Vasseur to Auto Hebdo. “The goal is not to have a Ferrari B-team, but an Alfa A-team.
“There will still be a bridge between the two entities with the driver part, the training part.”
Vasseur says the partnership with Alfa Romeo will stabilise the team, but the Frenchman does not believe Formula 1 will see privateer teams survive in the future, particularly if in the event of a crisis.
“Personally, in the long run, I do not see the survival of a private team in Formula 1,” said Vasseur. “It may have one or two great seasons, such as Force India, but at the slightest hint of a crisis, everything can switch.
“[With our partnership with] Alfa Romeo, the team will stabilise.”