[Still a Rumour.] Ferrari may bail out Sauber to pave way for Alfa Romeo return

Alfa Romeo's return to F1 will be:


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Sauber’s financial woes are now well known and there are signs the team will struggle to make it to the forthcoming Chinese Grand Prix, but now it is emerging that a saviour in the form of Ferrari, specifically Alfa Romeo, is in the pipeline.

The Swiss team attracted headlines when February wage payments to its 300 staff were delayed. Furthermore, team co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn was not present in Bahrain, fueling suggestions that she stayed behind in Hinwil to address Sauber’s financial crisis.

Now it appears that Ferrari, their long time engine partners, may step in to save the embattled outfit – the fourth oldest team on the grid – from closing down.

Recently Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari Chairman, has championed the idea of the group’s Alfa-Romeo brand returning to Formula 1 as a pseudo-junior team to Ferrari, in the mould of Toro Rosso and Red Bull.

In January, Marchionne said, “It would be difficult for Alfa Romeo to return without the support of another team. An association with Formula One, that would be ideal.”

“It’s incredible how the Alfa marque remains in people’s hearts. For that very reason we are thinking about bringing it back, as our competitor, to racing, to Formula One. It’s important for Alfa to return,” insisted Marchionne at the time.

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Alfa-Romeo has a fine pedigree in Formula 1 with Nino Farina winning the inaugural F1 World Championship in 1951 and a year later Juan Manuel Fangio was world champion for the marque. The team competed in 110 grands prix, winning ten times.

The team supplied engines to F1 teams between 1961 and 1979 before returning as a fully fledged works team between 1979 and 1985. Their final race at the pinnacle of the sport was at the 1985 Australian Grand Prix.

Apart from legends Farina and Fangio, other drivers who raced for the team included the likes of Bruno Giacomelli, Mario Andretti, Andrea de Cesaris, Patrick Depailler, Eddie Cheever and Riccardo Patrese.

Ironically Enzo Ferrari founded Scuderia Ferrari team in 1929 to become the racing team of Alfa Romeo, building and racing cars for the Italian marque at the time.

Italian media reported that during the Red Bull versus Renault crisis last year, there were discussions regarding Red Bull or Toro Rosso using Alfa Romeo badged Ferrari engines, but Red Bull stuck with Renault power (now branded as TAG-Heuer) while Toro Rosso opted for year old Ferrari power units.

Marchionne’s passion for the Alfa Romeo legacy in F1 is obvious, “I was at the Ferrari museum and you can see the story with a great closeness to Alfa Romeo.”

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TheCracker

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As much as i like the idea of seeing Alfa back in F1, i can't help but think that having another manufacturer taking over a fairly long established privateer team, is a bad thing in the long run. As soon as the boardroom deems their F1 expenditure as a unnecessary drain of money and is unable to sell the team on, then we loose another team.
 

Liquid

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Nino Farina winning the inaugural F1 World Championship in 1951 and a year later Juan Manuel Fangio was world champion for the marque.

Err... really?

As much as i like the idea of seeing Alfa back in F1, i can't help but think that having another manufacturer taking over a fairly long established privateer team, is a bad thing in the long run. As soon as the boardroom deems their F1 expenditure as a unnecessary drain of money and is unable to sell the team on, then we loose another team.

Honda, Ford, BMW, Toyota all went that way. Hell, even Renault. Twice. We're very lucky that only Toyota was a brand-new team and the pre-existing teams Honda, Ford and BMW took over were able to carry on.
 

VXR

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I don't like the idea of Alfa playing second fiddle to Ferrari. Ignoring their positions in road car terms, Alfa begat Ferrari in the first place. It doesn't seem right.
 

TheCracker

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I don't like the idea of Alfa playing second fiddle to Ferrari. Ignoring their positions in road car terms, Alfa begat Ferrari in the first place. It doesn't seem right.

Without checking the details for sure, back when they were last in F1 as a manufacturer, which i guess must have been in the late 70's to mid 80's, if i remember rightly they were always a mid-field team compared to Ferrari's front running form.
 

Liquid

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Without checking the details for sure, back when they were last in F1 as a manufacturer, which i guess must have been in the late 70's to mid 80's, if i remember rightly they were always a mid-field team compared to Ferrari's front running form.

They were pretty hopeless. Couldn't build a reliable engine to save their life. Always too heavy.
 
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There doesn't even appear to be a source for this rumour, they're seemingly just going on his past comments and putting 2 and 2 together.
 

Robin

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Can someone explain how Sauber has managed to survive this long when other equally small teams have come and gone? They must have had serious cash all these years.

The more factory teams in F1 the better IMO.
 
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Can someone explain how Sauber has managed to survive this long when other equally small teams have come and gone? They must have had serious cash all these years.

The more factory teams in F1 the better IMO.

Peter Sauber knew how to run a small F1 team, living and spending within their means and being moderately successful which brought in decent sponsorship money. Then of course they had their BMW factory years which gave them financial stability. The Monisha years however, things have gone pear shaped with mismanagement.
 

TheCracker

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Can someone explain how Sauber has managed to survive this long when other equally small teams have come and gone? They must have had serious cash all these years.

Like Samus states, Peter Sauber has probably managed the money side of things much better then most.

Coming off the back of running Mercedes 'factory' Group C campaign and then subsequently Merc's entry into F1 as an engine supplier. Followed by big deals with Red Bull and Petronas as F1 sponsors, and then becoming BMW's 'factory' F1 team - they've ridden the wave of bringing some deep pockets into Formula One over the years. After they took the team back from BMW, their fortunes have taken a dive, big name sponsors made way for mostly pay-driver sponsors.
 

hasslemoff

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That considerably looks like speculation dressed up as a news story. Any other sources reporting this?

Speculation about Alfa going back to F1 has been about since the badge showed up on the ferrari last year, there was even speculation about re branding the Ferrari engine in the Torro Rosso to Alfa. Marchionne likes to talk.
http://www.grandprix247.com/2015/02/25/marchionne-hints-at-alfa-romeo-return-to-formula-1/

Keep Ferrari in F1 were the brand name belongs and take Alfa back to the Touring cars and DTM.
 
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Speculation about Alfa going back to F1 has been about since the badge showed up on the ferrari last year, there was even speculation about re branding the Ferrari engine in the Torro Rosso to Alfa. Marchionne likes to talk.
http://www.grandprix247.com/2015/02/25/marchionne-hints-at-alfa-romeo-return-to-formula-1/

Oh I'm aware of Ferrari's desire to bring back the Alfa badge to F1, that's well established, but this is the first time I've seen it linked to Sauber. Which the article only offers two sentences about: the very convincing "now it is emerging....." and "now it appears......" lines. And the rest of the article is stories/speculation we already know about.

If it isn't being reported elsewhere, then that suggests to me it's just another example of an F1 outlet making something up based on existing rumours, and pretending it's a new rumour.
 
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If it isn't being reported elsewhere, then that suggests to me it's just another example of an F1 outlet making something up based on existing rumours, and pretending it's a new rumour.

It certainly looks like that. It's a good rumour as it combines various whiffs of credibility; Ferrari/Sauber, Ferrari/Alfa Romeo, Lack of Other Stories :)
 
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It's the usual "slap a new badge on the same old thing" and...again, as usual, Ferrari throwing money around F1 to suit themselves.

Meh: Engaged.
 
9,401
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mustafur
As much as i like the idea of seeing Alfa back in F1, i can't help but think that having another manufacturer taking over a fairly long established privateer team, is a bad thing in the long run. As soon as the boardroom deems their F1 expenditure as a unnecessary drain of money and is unable to sell the team on, then we loose another team.
As much as I understand what your saying we are talking about a team that will likely not exist anyway due to financial issues.
 
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They were pretty hopeless. Couldn't build a reliable engine to save their life. Always too heavy.
Couple podiums here and there. They were at least competitive enough to score points when the engine decided to work in the latter years.

I feel like there's an issue here with buying a team based in Switzerland to set up an Italian team. Probably meaningless, or at least the smallest issue with this article, but I feel like they'd prefer themselves to try to buy Torro Rosso.
 
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Couple podiums here and there. They were at least competitive enough to score points when the engine decided to work in the latter years.

I feel like there's an issue here with buying a team based in Switzerland to set up an Italian team. Probably meaningless, or at least the smallest issue with this article, but I feel like they'd prefer themselves to try to buy Torro Rosso.
I don't think it matters, you have German and French teams in Uk with no problem.
 

Liquid

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I don't think it matters, you have German and French teams in Uk with no problem.

Yep. In an age where team continuity doesn't matter (How can Brackley be both ex-Honda and Mercedes-Benz? Two works teams?) they can just purchase an Italian racing licence and be based elsewhere like Benetton did 1995-2001 and the 'German' Mercedes-Benz team continues to do so.
 

prisonermonkeys

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If they own the team, then they should be allowed to compete under whichever racing licence they like. What if the next Minardi, someone who is genuinely dedicated to racing, is from Moldova? Moldova doesn't have the infrastructure to host a team - and most of the knowledge, resources and facilities are in the United Kingdom. So why should the team be anything but Moldovan?
 

Liquid

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If they own the team, then they should be allowed to compete under whichever racing licence they like. What if the next Minardi, someone who is genuinely dedicated to racing, is from Moldova? Moldova doesn't have the infrastructure to host a team - and most of the knowledge, resources and facilities are in the United Kingdom. So why should the team be anything but Moldovan?

Regardless of sentimentality, if you're based in the UK you're a British team. If you're based in Italy, you're an Italian team. Is Mercedes-Benz GP really a German team? No, they're a British team and everyone knows it. Almost all of the staff are from pre-existing regimes and the origin is that of a British team too; Tyrrell or BAR depending on how you split hairs.

This is why I'd rather some teams were known by where they are based; Enstone Racing, Team Brackley, Silverstone Grand Prix. It won't be today, it won't be tomorrow, but someday Red Bull will withdraw and "Red Bull Racing" will change hands once again. Williams, McLaren, Sauber and Ferrari get passes because they are named after their founder and still under that continuity. But still, even if you did that you'd just sell the team name for advertising money like Total Network Solutions Football Club used to.

Pah, it's just the pedantry in me.

As for Alfa Romeo? I wonder if they would rather come back as an engine supplier first rather than investing in a team.
 
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As for Alfa Romeo? I wonder if they would rather come back as an engine supplier first rather than investing in a team.

Do you mean an actual supplier, or in having their name branded onto Ferrari units?

I reckon the team would use Ferrari engines rebadged as Alfa Romeo's, like the Tag Heuer branded Renault engines that Red Bull are using. Would the Fiat group really want to spend all of the money developing a second Formula 1 engine? Presuming they share all data though, it would be a sneaky way of doubling engine development tokens...
 

prisonermonkeys

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Regardless of sentimentality, if you're based in the UK you're a British team.
So what if Moldova F1 is owned by Moldovans, financed by Moldovans, and only employs Moldovans, but is based in Britain because the factory there is the best available? Are they still British?