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Alfa Romeo and Sauber partnership to continue

Sauber Group and Alfa Romeo agree terms of new deal

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Sauber Group and Alfa Romeo have agreed to continue their partnership. Alfa Romeo has been the title sponsor of the Swiss team since 2019. The agreement also sees the Italian manufacturer provide technical expertise. 

Valterri Bottas at the 2022 French GP (Image Credit: F1i.com)

Autosport is reporting that Sauber Group and Alfa Romeo have agreed a one-year extension to their existing deal.

The agreement has seen the Italian car manufacturer return to the F1 grid, in a reduced capacity. Alfa Romeo has previously been a manufacturer team on the grid. Their last race was in 1985 before withdrawing.

When Alfa agreed to return in 2019, it struck a unique deal with Sauber. It supplies technical assistance and title sponsorship, but race under Ferrari engines.

Confirming the extension,  Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato revealed the deal is for one year only. “I have signed the renewal for 2023 this morning.

Every year in July we assess the situation. If in the future we realise we are not interested any more [in F1] or we don’t have returns on our investments, we’ll see what to do. “But everything will be done in an orderly way.”

Alfa Romeo avoid the financial implications of running their own team with their unique deal. Imparato called this approach “dual governance”when interviewed by Autosport:

“I think I have the best return on investment on earth,” he said. “That can be surprising. But I repeat that: I think we have the most return on investment on earth.

“We invented with our colleagues from Sauber a new business model where there is a dual governance between us. We know perfectly, we say that Frederic [Vasseur] is managing the team since the beginning, and we did not derail, even if we lived some difficult times.

“As Alfa, I’m supporting them and activating everything I can in order to support that development. The step was for me, we have to progress year on year, race after race, even if we are struggling in some cases, and that’s it.”

What about the potential Audi buyout?

As rumours of the Swiss team being bought out by Audi continue to circulate, Imparato would not be drawn in on any potential deal. Reiterating the yearly review process with Sauber, the Alfa Romeo CEO would not be drawn in on the rumours:

“Each and every year we will make the point, we will decide for the next year,” he said.

“I’m not part of a long-term lock-in commitment on anything, doing five years perhaps, etc. So to be clear, any negotiation on the engine, any negotiation and anything in terms of partnership is led by Fred Vasseur and Sauber, in the best interests of Sauber.

“The best interests of Alfa Romeo is to have the return on investment each and every year, and the progress in terms of performance each and every year. That’s it.

“The rest is completely, I would say, separate.”

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