Andretti was '48 hours away' from pulling off Sauber deal

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

Andretti was '48 hours away' from pulling off Sauber deal

Formula 1

Andretti was '48 hours away' from pulling off Sauber deal

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Michael Andretti believes he was “48 hours away” from getting a deal done to take control of a Formula 1 team before his talks with Sauber collapsed.

Negotiations to take a controlling stake in Sauber appeared to be close to completion a few weeks before the United States Grand Prix in October, before the progress slowed and talks were eventually called off. Reflecting on why he wanted to enter F1 during his appearance as the opening guest speaker on the RACER / EPARTRADE Online Race Industry Week, Andretti said he thought the deal was nearly done.

“It’s the biggest racing series in the world and I think it could just do wonders for our brand,” Andretti said. “Internationally obviously, we are with Formula E and Extreme E, to do Formula 1 is the ultimate. I’ve always had interest in that.

“It was really, really disappointing that that deal didn’t come together. We were literally 48 hours away from getting the deal done at that time as we thought. I still very much would like to do it, opportunities are becoming less and less, teams aren’t really for sale right now. We have to see what happens in the future.

“There’s still interest. I love F1, it’s the ultimate racing experience, and for our brand would be just huge, it just takes us to the highest level you can be in.”

Andretti admitted serious talks with Sauber had begun as early as May but the deal looked to be gaining momentum through the summer months.

“It was pretty busy. Around May is when it started to heat up pretty big, then it got crazy in August, and September, it was flat out, that time we thought we had a deal and we were just trying to get it all buttoned up and unfortunately there were things thrown at us at the end that we couldn’t do it.

“There’s always a Plan B or C. So we’re definitely still attacking it. We’ll see what happens, but I’m not gonna give up on it. There could be opportunities that come down the road that aren’t here right now and we’re just going to keep looking for those opportunities.”

Despite the planned takeover not coming to fruition, there’s nothing Andretti would change in order to try and make it happen if faced with a repeat of the same situation.

“I mean, I think there’s some things you learn, you’re always learning, but would I say we could have done things differently? Probably not too much. We did a pretty good job of getting to the point of where we were at, I’m sure there’s things I learned, but would I do much different from what we did there? Probably not.”