Andretti Alfa deal dead in the water?


It is understood that Michael Andretti has ended talks that might have seen him enter F1 by purchasing the Alfa Romeo team.

In fact deal wasn't so much the Alfa Romeo team but rather the Sauber operation that was running it that Andretti was seeking to buy.

Andretti was looking to buy a rumoured 80% stake in Islero Investments which owns Sauber Motorsport and while it is claimed there was general agreement on a deal, it was essentially kicked into touch by Swedish Billionaire Finn Rausing, the man behind Islero.

Though a price had been agreed, numerous reliable media outlets claim that Rausling was also demanding $50m a year for five years as a guarantee the team would remain on the grid - and not sold on - the money to be paid in advance.

According to The Race, the money was to guarantee that Sauber had the necessary funding in place to run at the budget cap in case there were any issues with sponsorship.

With Sauber having announced a multi-year extension to their partnership in July, the new deal seeing an increase in funding, this new funding combined with the $50m a year from Andretti would have effectively protected Sauber from future issues.

The Andretti buy-out was the talk of the paddock in Austin, but while most welcomed the potential arrival of the American, others suggested it was the wrong time to be selling a team, citing the claimed growth of the sport and its increasing popularity.

Contrary to how it might appear, it is understood that Rausing's motive was not driven by money but rather the desire to see the Sauber operation remain on the grid.

Failure to sell the team to Andretti at least means that team boss, Frederic Vasseur can concentrate on naming a teammate for Valtteri Bottas.

Currently, Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou is favourite to take the second seat, though Australia's Oscar Pisatri is also in the running. Current incumbent is looking increasingly unlikely to remain on board.

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Published: 29/10/2021
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