The son of 1978 F1 World Champion Mario, Andretti has previously spoken of his interest in adding F1 to the Andretti Autosport portfolio alongside its other racing efforts in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and Supercars. RACER now reports that since initial enquiries about the potential of taking control of both Haas and Williams, Andretti is in talks with Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo is run by Sauber Motorsport, which is owned by Islero Investments – a company set up by Longbow Finance after it purchased the team from Peter Sauber back in 2016. Andretti has held negotiations with the view of taking control of the team, which could see an iconic reunion given the fact Mario raced for Alfa Romeo in F1 in 1981.
With the latest version of the Concorde Agreement – signed last year – including a $200million (£145m) anti-dilution fee that new entrants would need to pay in order to join the sport, purchasing an existing team is a much more viable prospect as Andretti looks to increase the American influence on the grid.
In an attempt to provide funding for such a project, Andretti Acquisitions Corporation was set-up earlier this year with the goal of raising $250m (£185m) from an initial IPO, however it is expected that much more than that figure would be required for a takeover of Sauber.
RACER reports further talks are planned between Andretti and Sauber’s owners at the upcoming United States Grand Prix in Austin later this month, with the intention of attempting to conclude a deal by the end of the year.
Alfa Romeo has so far only confirmed one driver for 2022, when Mercedes’ race-winner Valtteri Bottas will join the team in place of the retiring Kimi Räikkönen. Antonio Giovinazzi currently holds the second seat, but a number of Formula 2 candidates – including Alpine academy drivers Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri – have been linked with the drive.
On Friday, team principal Frederic Vasseur stated he was not in a position to have any knowledge of any talks between Andretti and Sauber, but did not list any potential ownership change as a reason for the lack of a driver decision.