The negotiation between Micheal Andretti and the Sauber Group, which seemed aimed at acquiring the Swiss team, had ended without success.
It was not clear what were the reasons that led to the stop, but rumours from several sources had excluded divergences on the financial front.
During a virtual event today, Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport CEO, wanted to comment directly on the situation, explaining the reason for the failed deal:
“I think I’d just like to put an end to some of these rumours that the (Alfa Romeo) deal fell through because of financial reasons.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth. That had nothing to do with that. It basically came down to control issues in the final hours of the negotiations. That’s what killed the deal.” He said
“Unfortunately at the 11th hour control issues changed, and it was a deal that we had to step away from because we couldn’t accept it. I always said that we’re only going to do it if it’s right for us and in the end it wasn’t right for us.”
Andretti admitted that Andretti Autosport's intention was not only to buy the team, but also to take control of it : "Basically it was about that," he stated.
He also underlined how Colton Herta, American racing driver, son of IndyCar driver and champ car Bryan Herta, could be the key to introduce a US driver into the F1 market, so as to increase the attention to the team and improve the following in the United States.
“We’re always going to look for opportunity there, not just there but in other formulas, as well.
“I believe he [Herta] could be a competitive driver in Europe” and “he would lead the way for us in terms of wanting to bring an American driver,” Andretti said.
In the negotiations between Andretti and Sauber, Liberty Media seemed not to be involved. Michael Andretti indirectly addressed the F1 media agency, by saying:
"Liberty? No, it wasn't involved. I think they would have liked us to be in F1, because they are pushing a lot on the American market, but they didn't do anything to help us.
"It would have been a great story. Too bad it didn't work, but me? do not give up..."
“We’re always going to look for opportunity there, not just there but in other formulas, as well, other types of racing,” he said.
“That’s what we do. We’re in the racing business, and we’re always looking for opportunities to expand.
“But when we do expand, we have to make sure that it’s a proper deal that we know we can be competitive because that’s very important for our brand is to be competitive in anything that we do.”