“Alfa Romeo should look closer closer”

Ital­ian brand edges closer to F1 re­turn, but not with Sauber takeover

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Rob Lad­brook

Fer­rari chief Ser­gio Mar­chionne is con­tin­u­ing to push for Alfa Romeo’s re­turn to For­mula 1 to be­come a re­al­ity, but has quashed spec­u­la­tion that the brand could buy Sauber.

Mar­chionne is head of both Fer­rari and the Fiat/chrysler Group, which owns Alfa Romeo, and said back in Jan­uary that the mar­que had to look at a re­turn to the sport’s top flight to im­prove the sport­ing im­age of its road cars.

Mar­chionne in­sisted that any Alfa re­turn could be done by es­tab­lish­ing a new team, but con­ceded that a takeover of a cur­rent squad would be the prefer­able op­tion.

Re­ports have linked Alfa with a buy­out of the strug­gling Sauber team. Sauber has en­dured a test­ing start to the cam­paign amid fi­nan­cial is­sues. It was forced to de­lay pay­ments to 300 of its staff for Fe­bru­ary, and had to in­tro­duce its new car late at the sec­ond test.

The fi­nan­cial strife of the Swiss team would make it a can­di­date for a brand like Alfa, which could fol­low Re­nault back into the sport as a full works team af­ter the French firm bought out Lo­tus last year. Sauber also al­ready boasts a Fer­rari en­gine sup­ply deal.

How­ever, Mar­chionne poured cold wa­ter on the po­ten­tial for any deal with Sauber, say­ing that the firm should look to re-en­ter the sport in con­junc­tion with the Fiat/chrysler Group, or Fer­rari.

Mar­chionne said: “There are per­haps other al­ter­na­tives for Alfa if they wanted to come back into the race [F1].

“It is a very close cousin of Fer­rari, and you should start look­ing at your fam­ily first be­fore you start look­ing out­side.”

Alfa Romeo last raced in F1 as a works op­er­a­tion 31 years ago, but has one of the long­est his­to­ries in motorsport, hav­ing been in­volved in racing in var­i­ous forms since 1911.

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