“Does the Name Sauber Mean Nothing?” – €600 Million Reportedly Proves To Be a Stumbling Block in Andretti F1 Buyout

Published 10/23/2021, 3:41 PM EDT
Michael Andretti Source: Sports USA


At the end of August, a story in The Formula One paddock emerged about Alfa Romeo Sauber. Reports claimed that American retired racing driver and team owner of IndyCar team Andretti Autosport, Michael Andretti wants to buy 80 percent of Alfa Romeo Sauber, along with a group of investors backing him.

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This deal was supposed to be announced at the United States Grand Prix. But now that the GP is upon us, news has emerged that Andretti is apparently not completing the deal.

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Speculations around Andretti taking over Sauber

At the Turkish GP at Istanbul Park, the news was leaked first that 1991 IndyCar Champion Andretti, along with a group of investors have submitted an offer to the Swiss owners of Alfa Romeo Sauber.

Car owner Michael Andretti, left, talks with driver Fernando Alonso, of Spain, during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) ORG XMIT: NAA115

On the Wednesday leading up to the United States Grand Prix, Andretti Autosport announced via Twitter that there should be some news soon. People started speculating that the takeover would be completed soon, and American driver Colton Herta would be placed in the second seat alongside Valtteri Bottas. The 21-year-old American driver finished the IndyCar series in fifth place this year and also secured three victories for the Andretti Autosport team.

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Although many in the paddock still believe that the sale of Alfa Romeo Sauber to the Americans is a done deal, the plan of Michael Andretti seems to have failed for the time being. According to information by auto-motor-und-sport.de, the investors have shied away after realizing the amount that they have to raise in order for the takeover to happen.

An anonymous source, likely from the Alfa Romeo Sauber team, was quoted as saying, “Does the name Sauber mean nothing? After all, we are the fourth oldest team in Formula 1.

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The sale price for Alfa Romeo revealed

In addition to a purchase price of 350 million euros, there should also be a bank guarantee of an additional 250 million euros. Bringing the total to 600 million. The bank guarantee is to secure that the team remains operational for the next five years. The 50 million a year guarantee is intended to bridge the gap between the team’s income and the entry budget if enough sponsorship money is not found. The current owner wants to ensure that Sauber goes into serious hands.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

However, some of the rumors about the takeover were pretty dubious, anyway. It was rumored that Andretti wanted to use Colton Herta in the first Free Practise session immediately after the announcement.

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That won’t be possible because the 21-year-old American has to first complete 300 km in an F1 car to be eligible to drive in a Grand Prix, regardless of the number of super license points that Herta has. Additionally, Herta has only 32 points in his super license, whereas he needs 40 to be able to drive in F1. So what is in store for the Swiss team’s fate in F1? Only time will tell.

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Riddhi Mondal

106 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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