Rumor: Sauber Shareholders eye F1 team sale to Michael Andretti (Update)

(GMM) Michael Andretti has failed in a reported bid to buy the Alfa Romeo-branded Formula 1 team Sauber.

Andretti, the former F1 driver and now active IndyCar and Formula E team owner, apparently approached the Swiss based team recently about a buyout.

“The proposal was made in the summer and received a ‘no’ from the owners,” Sky Italia reported from Monza.

Michael Andretti rejected?

As for the vacant 2022 seat at Alfa Romeo alongside Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari junior and Formula 2 driver Robert Shwartzman has now counted himself out of the running.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m surprised or not,” the Russian said.

“At the moment I don’t have enough results to say ‘Why aren’t you talking about me?’

“Yes, the situation with places in F1 is not easy, but there are still more years to come.”

Up to six candidates are reportedly in the running to be Bottas’ teammate, but the favorite is F2 front-runner Guanyu Zhou and his millions in Chinese backing.

“I will closely follow the Formula 2 races here in Italy and Sochi and then make a decision by the end of September,” said team boss Frederic Vasseur.

The quiet favorite at Alfa Romeo is actually Sauber junior and teenager Theo Pourchaire, who won the Formula 2 race at Monza.

“Pourchaire can become the new Alain Prost,” long-time Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder told Blick newspaper.

September 11, 2021 

(GMM) As the rest of the ‘silly season’ settles, Alfa Romeo has found itself the center of attention from a speculative point of view in Formula 1.

The cockpit alongside Valtteri Bottas’ is now the last realistic opening on the 2022 grid, and the candidates are lining up to replace Antonio Giovinazzi.

However, some wonder if ousting Giovinazzi would endanger the Swiss-based team’s relationship with its engine supplier Ferrari.

“As power unit supplier, we are always evaluating the collaboration with the team and obviously the driver choice is part of the evaluation,” Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto confirmed at Monza.

However, it is strongly rumored that Alfa Romeo will indeed oust Ferrari junior Giovinazzi and sign up Guanyu Zhou – a Formula 2 front-runner whose Chinese backers are reportedly offering up some EUR 20-30 million.

“For sure, he’s on the list,” team boss Frederic Vasseur confirms.

On Vasseur’s ‘to-do’ list, meanwhile, may be talks with former F1 driver Michael Andretti – a powerful figure in the world of US-based racing who is reportedly interested in buying Hinwil-based Sauber (see related rumor).

“First, I think it’s not the case,” said Vasseur.

“On top of this, I am the CEO of the company, but I think if one day this kind of discussion happened, it won’t be with me. It will be with my shareholders.”

Toto Wolff and Frederic Vasseur talking engine supply? Vasseur says it is above his pay grade to talk team sale to Michael Andretti – that would happen at the shareholder level.

Finally, Vasseur says he expects 41-year-old Kimi Raikkonen to return to his cockpit at Sochi, after sitting out a second consecutive race due to covid in the wake of his retirement announcement.

“I spoke with Kimi this week,” said the Frenchman at Monza. “He’s ok and has no big symptoms.

“But you know the protocol that when you test positive, you have to stay ten days in isolation. Ten days is Sunday or Monday, and I hope that he will be back in Sochi for sure.”


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