“Alfa Romeo should look closer closer”
Italian brand edges closer to F1 return, but not with Sauber takeover
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.