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"Control issues" killed Andretti F1 deal

NEWS STORY
04/11/2021

Keen to end the speculation, Michael Andretti reveals that "control issues" killed hopes of a takeover of the Sauber F1 operation.

Late last month, following weeks of intense speculation, it was revealed that Andretti had walked away from talks which would have seen him enter F1.

Andretti was looking to buy a rumoured 80% stake in Islero Investments which owns Sauber Motorsport, which runs the Alfa Romeo F1 operation, and while it was claimed there was general agreement on a deal, it was said to have been kicked into touch by the demands of Swedish Billionaire Finn Rausing, the man behind Islero.

Speaking at the announcement of the fourth driver for his team in IndyCar in 2022, Andretti was keen to put the record straight.

"I'd just like to put an end to some of these rumours that the deal fell through because of financial reasons," he said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. It 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.

"I've always said if the deal is not right, we're not going to do it," he continued, "and in the end it wasn't right. So we continue to look for other opportunities.

"Unfortunately at the 11th hour, control issues changed," he added, "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."

Asked if the "control issue" essentially meant that Andretti Autosport though able to buy Sauber but not control it, he replied: "Basically."

Asked if F1's owners, Liberty Media, had been involved in the discussions at any stage, he said: "Liberty? No.

"I think they would like it, obviously," he continued, "because they're really pushing the American market, but they weren't doing anything to help us.

"I think it would have been a huge story. It's a shame it didn't work out. But I don't give up. Our eyes are always going to stay open. We're always going to look for opportunity there, not just there but in other formulas, as well, other types of racing. 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 – to be competitive in anything that we do."

Though the deal is off, Andretti confirmed that Colton Herta would almost certainly have made the move from IndyCar to F1.

"Obviously if we do ever get a team, he would lead the way for us in terms of wanting to bring an American driver," said Andretti.

"He'd be the perfect guy to do it. I mean, we definitely were going to try to get him into the seat because I believe he could be a competitive driver in Europe. I really do. There's no reason why he wouldn't."

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1. Posted by The stogie, 05/11/2021 17:09

"Apparently the seller wanted to sell 80% of the team BUT still run things. At least that is the rumour on this side of the pond (North America)!!"

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