The Italian model has had a presence within the sport as a sponsor of Sauber since 2018, and from 2019 the group has been absolutely named after it. And but, in essence, the association is solely a sponsorship deal that takes benefit of the “household” relationship with energy unit and gearbox provider Ferrari.
As such, it represents a remarkably whole lot for Alfa, because the producer does not carry the burden of getting to fund an influence unit programme, or of proudly owning a group, and all of the expense that entails.
It has been completed earlier than: Red Bull Racing had title sponsorship from Infiniti and Aston Martin, giving each marques a discount presence on the high of the game.
VW will probably be approaching it very in another way.
Porsche seems set to fund and model the brand new Purple Bull Powertrains engine, whereas Audi plans to purchase a group that may turn into its works entry, whereas on the identical time working a separate engine programme from Germany. General, it may be a really costly train.
In the meantime, Alfa Romeo, which is ready to announce a call on renewing its relationship with Sauber in July, is producing a excessive profile for a way more modest spend.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of the Stellantis Group that owns Alfa Romeo and a string of different manufacturers, makes no apologies about the best way the deal works – and he refutes any suggestion that maybe Alfa ought to be extra instantly concerned, and maybe make the leap and purchase the Swiss group.
“As we speak I’ve a robust partnership,” he says. “It’s working. The group known as Alfa Romeo F1 group. And I do not suppose it will be truthful to criticise the truth that we’ve got a robust partnership.
“Why ought to we criticise the truth that we’ve got a robust partnership? Why ought to we expect that there’s just one strategy to be in F1, which is having a group? What is the profit?
“The profit that we wish for the motorsports followers is tough racing on the observe. That is what they need to see. Overtaking, late braking, tyre put on administration and many others. So what I might respectfully problem is the imaginative and prescient the place there is just one strategy to be in F1. And I want to ask then what’s unsuitable about having a robust partnership in a group referred to as Alfa Romeo F1 group?
“If it really works, if the group is motivated, if the workers are enthusiastic about what they’re doing, if the outcomes are enhancing, if the drivers say the automobile is healthier and higher, in the event you see it on the outcomes, if we’re right here to debate about it, it is as a result of it really works.
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42
Photograph by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
“So we must always open our minds to the truth that the enterprise fashions of being current in F1 are multiple, perhaps two, perhaps three, perhaps 4? I do not know. In order that’s my reply to you.
“However I perceive the place the hypothesis is. However my frank and honest reply of any individual who has been in motorsports for greater than 40 years now could be that there could also be ultimately multiple manner and even multiple profitable strategy to be current in F1.”
Alfa Romeo’s involvement with Sauber pre-dates the beginning of Stellantis, fashioned in 2021 from the merger between Fiat Chrysler Vehicles and the PSA Group.
He could have inherited the association, however Tavares – a former Estoril observe marshal and a racer himself – is adamant that F1 is the best place for the model to be. He cites its presence within the USA and China, markets the place the game is rising, as among the many key elements.
“For all of the automobile firms which are working very onerous to turn into the most effective, which is the case of Stellantis, that is clearly a spot to be,” he says. “To reveal that on the sting of the motorsports world, we will generate good outcomes.
“Alfa Romeo was already concerned in F1, in what we think about is a really constructive partnership. And we noticed that there was extra potential to develop the partnership, and attempt to mix the 2 constructive dynamics.
“One constructive dynamic is the advance of the sporting outcomes, that you could see for the reason that starting of this yr. And the second constructive dynamic is the truth that we noticed clearly a possibility to develop profitably the enterprise of Alfa Romeo around the globe.
“Alfa Romeo is one among our three premium manufacturers. It’s the solely of these three premium manufacturers that’s current within the three greatest markets of the world, North America, Europe and China. Subsequently it has a particular want to enhance its consciousness and the general opinion internationally.
“And naturally F1 is an ideal present to extend consciousness of a worldwide premium model referred to as Alfa Romeo. So it was one thing that represents the nice basis, and we actually determined that we must always construct on that basis to extend the notice of the Alfa Romeo model around the globe.
“The model fairness could be very sturdy already, however once we can develop it much more, and naturally, deliver extra worthwhile enterprise to Alfa Romeo.”
Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO
Photograph by: Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo could solely be a title sponsor relatively than an proprietor, however Tavares is adamant that the fee cap ought to proceed to have a decent maintain on what groups can spend.
He does not need to see F1 someday regulated by some type of a stability of efficiency, as is the case in sportscar racing, for instance.
“We imagine that F1 ought to keep out of what I might name the BoP world,” he says. “And due to this fact ought to proceed to work in a rigorous and correct manner on the fee cap, which is the choice to the BoP world. And as we do not need to see BoP coming to F1, it’s good that we work on the fee cap.
“As a result of if we work on the fee cap, then we’re going to enhance the return on funding that the automobile firms may have on this sport, given the media impression that we will have.
“And if we’ve got return on funding, then it is good for the game, and it is good for the carmakers. So there’s a good alignment of curiosity between the fee cap enhancing the return on funding for the carmakers, the sustainability of the game, and the truth that it makes economical sense to be current in F1.
“So I feel it’s in the most effective curiosity of people who find themselves keen about motorsports such as you and me to guard the truth that you may race with an affordable funds.
“As a result of if the funds is cheap, with the nice media impression that you’re creating, then the return on funding is nice. And if the return on funding is nice, the carmakers will come.”
Not surprisingly Tavares welcomes the anticipated presence of Audi and Porsche from 2026 – they’re each names that Alfa Romeo want to be seen competing with. Nonetheless, he cautions that their arrival should not be allowed to drive spending up.
“I’m very comfortable that we’d have much more OEMs current it F1, I feel that is good,” he says. “So long as so long as the presence of these OEMs isn’t going simply to make the present bust. And the way can the present go bust?
“By letting inflation take the maintain on the present. It’s not in our curiosity, we the motor sports activities followers, to let inflation take maintain. As a result of after the inflation, there may be the nonsense, after the nonsense, it blows up.
“And after it blows up, then every part must be rebuilt. So we welcome different OEMs very sincerely, as a result of it is good. That is the game, that is the large combat. That is why we’re right here. We prefer it.
“But it surely’s vital that it’s mixed with cheap budgets that defend the ROI, as a result of the ROI is the rationale why we’re right here.
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42
Photograph by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
“So if newcomers are available, and so they blow up the present, as a result of they’re able to spend cash on the stage that is not sensible, even for our staff is not sensible, then three years later, the present goes bust.
“So the restrict to welcoming new entries and particularly sturdy new entries is sure, wonderful, nice. We stay the game and we prefer to race on the observe. However you must respect the fee cap guidelines. You need to respect these guidelines, and ensure that you’re going to play by the e book.
“And if that is the case, then we welcome them, that will probably be incredible And I am not apprehensive in regards to the guys who’ve some huge cash, since you do not at all times discover the expertise the place the cash is.”
Tavares is assured that the game’s bosses are on the case.
“We’ve got a protracted historical past in F1, we must always defend the historical past and maintain issues below cheap management. That is why I am not apprehensive in regards to the newcomers. It is nearly the best way you handle the game.
“However I feel that our present understanding and philosophical alignment with Stefano Domenicali could be very, very sturdy on that matter. And I feel he is doing effectively. I feel he is doing the best issues for the game.”
As famous earlier, we’ll know in July if Alfa is prolonged its present deal, and for a way lengthy.
It is a easy calculation, as Tavares notes: “So long as there’s a constructive story to be instructed in regards to the enchancment of the efficiency of the Alfa Romeo F1 group, then I’ve constructive media impression, which I can put in entrance of my monetary contribution to the group. That is how I calculate it. And from that perspective, it is a whole lot.”
Nonetheless, there stays an elephant within the room. Sauber is without doubt one of the groups excessive on Audi’s buying listing, and there’s a chance due to this fact that it will not be out there to be sponsored by Alfa in 2026 in past.
So is Tavares involved by that chance? He rapidly bats the suggestion off.
“That is a pure hypothesis,” he says. “In my automotive business would you like the listing of my issues? What number of days? I do not suppose you have got sufficient pages in your pocket book. We’ll see…”