Michael Andretti’s hopes of taking over a Formula 1 team appear a step closer with significant talks with Sauber — the company that runs Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN — set for the United States Grand Prix weekend at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
As reported by RACER in August, Andretti has been actively pursuing a team in F1, with his focus turning to Alfa Romeo/Sauber having tentatively spoken to both Haas and Williams. RACER now understands that talks with the Swiss-based team have been advancing and further negotiations are set to take place in two weeks when F1 races at COTA.
Andretti is believed to have secured at least part of the required funding through the Andretti Acquisitions Corporation that was launched earlier this year with an aim of raising $250 million through an initial public offering, and an investment is viewed as particularly well-timed from a U.S. perspective given the recent focus on North America from F1’s owners Liberty Media.
As well as the race in Austin, next year will see a second event in Miami join the calendar in May, while numerous U.S.-based sponsors have recently joined the sport. McLaren has also enjoyed success in both IndyCar and F1 this year, as currently the only team to race in both series.
The talks could explain the delay from Alfa Romeo to name a second driver for 2022, with any change in shareholding potentially linked with the final driver line-up. However, team principal Frederic Vasseur insists he has no knowledge of any talks as they would take place above him.
“I can say nothing because honestly it’s not in my perimeter,” Vasseur said. “I’m the CEO and team principal, and this kind of discussion is not with me, it would be with the shareholders. We had so many rumors and so, that you’d have to ask the question to the shareholders of the company.
“Seriously we are not in a rush to take a decision (on drivers). We have a couple of options on the table and we have to take time to decide, but we are not in a rush. The situation won’t change over the next couple of days and we will take a decision soon.
“We are discussing with all the parties involved and it’s not an easy choice. We are in the beginning of the new regulations, it’s a new journey for F1 and we have to consider all the points. It made sense for us to have a look at the last events in F2 — Monza and Sochi — and OK now the situation is like this and we will take a decision in the next couple of weeks.”