F1 2019 Pre-Season Report: Alfa Romeo

We assess how Alfa Romeo can expect to fare in the 2019 Formula One season.

The Alfa Romeo pictured during the Formula One pre-season testing session at the Catalunya racetrack.   -  AP

Ahead of the opening race of the 2019 Formula One season in Australia on March 17, we take a look at how each team is gearing up for the new campaign.

Here, we assess Alfa Romeo's chances of getting ahead in the midfield battle.

HOW DID IT PERFORM IN 2018?

Last season was the team's final one as Sauber and after years of struggles it recorded its best points total since 2013 to place eighth in the constructors' championship.

Young Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc particularly impressed with 39 points in his debut campaign, his 10 top-10 finishes prompting the bosses at Maranello to hand him a seat alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2019.

THE 2019 LINE-UP

Kimi Raikkonen

Eighteen years after leaving Sauber following his debut season in F1, Raikkonen is back with the team hoping to build on their improving fortunes from 2018.

The Finn finished on the podium 12 times for Ferrari last season, and Alfa Romeo will hope to use his competitiveness behind the wheel and experience outside of the car.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Following in the footsteps of Leclerc, Giovinazzi will hope to thrive in 2019 and impress his Ferrari bosses. 

The 25-year-old has only completed two F1 races in his career and returns after serving as a test driver for Haas, Sauber and Ferrari over the past two seasons.

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THE TO-DO LIST

- Having a former world champion among its ranks is a huge coup for Alfa Romeo and it will need to tap into Raikkonen's knowledge if it is to win the midfield battle.

- While one side of the garage has experience, the other is starting its first full season. If it can bring Giovinazzi on like it did Leclerc, Alfa Romeo's position as a breeding ground for prodigious talent could be invaluable.

HOW WILL IT FARE?

Early signs in pre-season testing suggest Alfa Romeo could cause a few surprises in 2019, but turning that potential into pace on the track is another challenge.

The return of Raikkonen could be a masterstroke, providing he has the car to be competitive.

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