It is understood that after some speculation and reports, Andretti will not be buying into the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, run by Sauber.
Earlier reports started saying that the Andretti organisation were finding their way into Formula 1 by coming after control of most stakes of Sauber, having consequently the buying of the Alfa Romeo F1 team. It is reported that Andretti had the chance to buy 80% of stakes in Islero Investments.
A deal was in the making after Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing, Sauber’s owner, was said to have reached an agreement with Andretti on a price they were both ok with.
Nonetheless, the people on Andretti’s side believed the deal was more advanced than Sauber, and speculations of an arrangement being agreed on emerged in the US. Some people in the paddock even believed that a deal had been concluded between the two parts.
But as reported by some media sites last week, the chances of a successful agreement were not as high as it was previously thought.
It appears that once negotiations got to a further stage, Andretti was not willing to meet Sauber’s true price. Auto Motor und Sport reports that in addition of the payment for the team, Rausing wanted a $50m-a-year guarantee for the team for five years, and he wanted it paid upfront.
This additional fee would be a guarantee to ensure Sauber had enough funding to run at the budget cap in case there were any issues with the sponsorship, as the renewed commercial deal and new funding for Alfa Romeo was set to increase the budget for the team in 2022, so this fee would protect Sauber in case anything was jeopardized.
That is said to be the price that Andretti was not willing to meet and led multiple sources to indicate that there will not be a deal.
It was last weekend that Frederic Vasseur, Sauber CEO and Alfa Romeo F1 team boss, was asked for an update on the deal with Rausing to which he replied:
“I have absolutely no comment to make. It’s not my business. I’m not involved in this kind of discussion, and we have absolutely no comments to do, as we did in the past.”
“I’m focused on running the team. It’s not my business at all,” he added.
This also means that the team’s line-up for the 2022 season is still unclear, with Formula 2 driver Guanyu Zhou as favourite to take the seat from Antonio Giovinazzi.
But Vasseur had hinted that the doubt about who would own the team next year may have played a part in confirming the second seat, as it is known Valtteri Bottas will have one.
“For sure the ownership could be linked to some choices and it’s a crucial choice for the team,” Vasseur admitted.
“And you can’t imagine owning a company and not being part of the discussion. But again, I have no comment to make on this.”
If the ownership of the team remains the same (which is now expected), Vasseur would be free to decide on the line-up for the 2022 season. With this, it is likely that Bottas teammate will be Zhou.
Formula 2 championship leader, Oscar Piastri, was considered to be a contender to Zhou for the seat but is said to be left out because of his level of funding.