Categories
Formula 1

Alfa Romeo will not commit to Sauber beyond 2023

Since its initial partnership with the Sauber team in 2018, Alfa Romeo has been adamant that its ongoing relationship would be determined by yearly assessments. Despite the fact that the value and interest in Alfa Romeo and F1 are higher than ever, and other manufacturers are knocking on the door (Audi even with Sauber), there is no indication that the Italian marque will deviate from its plan. While the partnership is providing significant value to the brand, Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato says he is happy to maintain some flexibility. “In the coming weeks, I will decide on 2023 with our colleagues,” he tells Motorsport.com. “The question for us today is not to plan for five years.” We are, I believe, on this 2023 project, and as you know, we signed a very clear, transparent, long-term partnership with yearly assessments with our colleagues. So I’m completely at ease with any aspect of this evaluation. “Every year, we will make the point, and we will decide for the following year.” “I’m not part of any long-term lock-in commitment, such as doing five years.” To be clear, any engine negotiation, any partnership negotiation, and anything else is led by Fred Vasseur and Sauber, in the best interests of Sauber. “It is in Alfa Romeo’s best interests to have a return on investment and to make progress in terms of performance every year.” That’s all. The rest, I would say, is completely separate.” Alfa Romeo Brand CEO Jean Philippe Imparato Jean Philippe Imparato took the photograph. Imparato’s stance contrasts with that of other car manufacturers who are committed to F1 for the long haul. However, the Frenchman is not used to doing things in the conventional way, as he is the only car manufacturer in F1 who is content (indeed, delighted) to only have naming rights to a team rather than owning the squad or building an engine. “I think I have the best return on investment on the planet,” he says, smiling. “That can be unexpected. But, with our Sauber colleagues, we created a new business model in which we have dual governance.” The carbon-neutral push in Formula One All automakers are facing difficult times as they transition to electric vehicles, which is proving to be prohibitively expensive. While F1 has pledged to become carbon neutral, it is still promoting an internal combustion engine future, albeit one powered by sustainable fuel. Imparato, on the other hand, does not see a clash of philosophies between electric road cars and net zero engines in F1, believing that they can coexist quite happily. He believes that F1 will benefit greatly from leading the way in terms of carbon neutrality. “The fuel, and respect for the environment, are at the heart of Formula 1’s transformation.” “I’m certain of it,” he stated. “Afterwards, I’m not sure what the pace, the reasons, or the event will be, but I know they’re on it and working on it.” So every time everyone works on something positive toward carbon-neutrality, it’s good news for me.” Also read: Alfa Romeo is “not blind” to Audi’s interest in the Sauber F1 team. How the 2023 Formula One floor changes will help to limit porpoising issues Why does Williams want nothing more than a dull F1 practice session in France? “Motorsport is always a forerunner,” he continued, “and you will see that motorsport will drive the change, probably faster than everyone else, as it always has.” We can argue, debate, and yell, but at some point, we are racers. At one point, the target is clear: everyone is racing to be the first, and that will continue to be the case.” While F1’s sustainable fuels strategy has prompted speculation that the transition to electric vehicles may be slowed from current schedules, Imparato insists there is no turning back for his company. “I believe the decisions have been made,” he stated. “The industry goes EV in 2035, and when you set that bar, it means you stop investing now, and you stop ICE in 2030 or so.” So it will be a race at who will be the first to be at zero. “ There is no compromise, and there is no plan B for me. Because our kids will not accept that we will push the limits of the emissions on CO2. It’s a matter of ethics.”