Sauber committed to Alfa Romeo despite Audi rumours

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42. 09.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Austrian
© XPB 

Frédéric Vasseur insists that Sauber remains as committed as ever to its current partnership with Alfa Romeo, despite growing rumours that it's in Audi's sights as a possible takeover prospect.

Sauber has been in charge of Alfa Romeo's F1 project since 2018. Prior to that the squad - originally founded by Peter Sauber in 1970 - had competed in F1 under its own name since 1993.

The current deal with the Italian manufacturer is organised on a rolling one-year basis and is expected to continue in 2023. However the longer term picture is complicated by the anticipated arrival of Audi in F1.

Parent company Volkswagen is expected to be on the verge of formally announcing its involvement in the sport, with Porsche likely to take a 50 per cent ownership and engine supply deal with Red Bull.

But Audi's role is still to be confirmed, with the company believed to have looked into possible buy-outs of teams including McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin. But now it's Sauber that looks to be on the top of the shopping list.

Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato stated recently that he would have to be "blind" to the rumours swirling around the paddock about Sauber's future but insisted he remained relaxed about the situation.

Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Team Principal in the paddock with a water pistol. 21.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard, France, Prep

And now Vasseur has also stated that whatever happens in the future with Audi, Sauber remained committed to producing the very best performance with the Alfa Romeo team in the meantime.

"I am more than happy with the partnership with them," he told this month. "They are not just a sponsor, we are partners and developing projects together.

"The relationship between Alfa Romeo [and parent company] Stellantis at one end and the team at the other end is very, very good.

"Perhaps part of the good results today is because we are all working together, and they are helping us also to find other partners. I really enjoy the partnership."

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42 makes a pit stop. 08.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Race

Vasseur was reluctant to be drawn about the longer term picture and the possibility that Sauber might be taken over by Audi, adding that he was "struggling to speak about '23!"

"First I think they need to clarify the situation on the engine," the 54-year-old Frenchman pointed out. "As soon as they'll have confirmation of their commitment on the engine, it's probably time to discuss.

"Sure they'll discuss with everybody in the paddock," he acknowledged. "They'll do their job.

"But the most important thing is we have the project with Alfa Romeo today," he insisted. "I don't want to mix everything, I want to give the best to Alfa Romeo."

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