Why Andretti’s Takeover of Sauber F1 is Off the Table

Published 10/28/2021, 1:11 AM EDT
Michael Andretti Source: Sports USA


One of the biggest rumors around the Formula One paddock has been put to rest. Recent reports claim that the Sauber-run Alfa Romeo Formula One Team’s takeover by Andretti has been canceled. Previously, the delay was said to be because Michael Andretti needed time to arrange the funds.

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Now that the deal has fallen through, it is up in the air again as to what will happen to the Alfa Romeo F1 Team in the future.

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Andretti deal canceled over financial issues

Andretti was looking for a way into the F1 grid, after cementing their position in IndyCar. They believed their most reasonable inroad to be through the Sauber Company and the Alfa Romeo F1 team. A deal looked possible when it was reported that Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing, the owner of Sauber, named a price that Andretti was willing to meet.

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

The first major indication that the deal was close to being completed came during the United States Grand Prix. It was widely believed in the F1 paddock that a deal had been completed in secrecy and only a formal announcement was to be made. However, The Race is now reporting that the deal fell through when Sauber revealed their exact price and it was not compatible with Andretti’s expectations.

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Auto-Motor-und-Sport reported that Sauber was valued at a price which Andretti seemed willing to pay, however, they also demanded 50 million dollars a year for five years – a fee that had to be paid upfront. This money would have acted as a guarantee that the team would be functional for the next five years at least. This extra money supposedly put off Andretti and the deal supposedly fell through. However, Sauber has not officially declared anything related to the negotiations.

Alfa team Principal’s comments on the deal

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Sauber CEO and Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur, when asked for an update on the Andretti deal last week, commented, “I have absolutely no comment to make. It’s not my business.” 

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 7, 2021, Alfa Romeo Racing Team Principal Frederic Vasseur talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

“I’m not involved in this kind of discussion, and we have absolutely no comments to do, as we did in the past.” He added, “I’m focused on running the team. It’s not my business at all.

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What this means is that the second Alfa Romeo seat for 2022 is still not confirmed. Andretti’s IndyCar driver, Colton Herta, was never a realistic option because he was ineligible for a superlicence either way.

This puts Guanyu Zhou in the prime position for the Alfa Romeo seat, as Antonio Giovinazzi is expected to lose his seat at the end of this year.

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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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