Michael Andretti has revealed that “control issues” were the main reason behind the collapse of negotiations to purchase a major stake in Sauber.
Andretti has been searching for a Formula 1 project for some time and was in advanced talks with Sauber to secure a controlling stake in the company that would have given him ownership of the Alfa Romeo team. However, after those talks slowed in the weeks prior to the United States Grand Prix — leading to the cancellation of planned meetings in Austin — the deal was called off altogether, and Andretti says it proved not to be the right opportunity for him.
“I think I’d just like to put an end to some of these rumors that the deal fell through because of financial reasons,” Andretti said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. That had nothing to do with that.
“It basically came down to control issues in the final hours of the negotiations. That’s what killed the deal. I’ve always said if the deal is not right, we’re not going to do it, and in the end it wasn’t right. So we continue to look for other opportunities.
“It had nothing to do with financials or anything like that. Unfortunately at the 11th hour, control issues changed, and it was a deal that we had to step away from because we couldn’t accept it.”
Andretti is still hopeful of entering F1 in the future but says it isn’t his sole focus when it comes to new racing categories for his Andretti Autosport team.
“Well, our eyes are always going to stay open. We’re always going to look for opportunity, not just there but in other formulas as well, other types of racing. That’s what we do. We’re in the racing business, and we’re always looking for opportunities to expand.
“But when we do expand, we have to make sure that it’s a proper deal that we know we can be competitive, because that’s very important for our brand — to be competitive in anything that we do.”
The collapse of the Andretti talks also signaled the end of hopes to put Colton Herta in the Alfa Romeo next season if a Super License could be secured, and leaves the team likely to run Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou alongside Valtteri Bottas.