Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imperato is delighted with the relationship his company currently have with Sauber amid rumours of an Audi takeover in 2026.
Alfa Romeo began sponsoring Sauber in 2018 when they became a name partner, and they bought the naming rights from Peter Sauber in 2019, with the Swiss side struggling for cash flow after a series of poor seasons.
Since then, business has been on the up, and that has been helped by the impressive car that has been put together in Zurich in 2022.
Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have managed nine points finishes between them so far in 2022, and the duo have guided the team to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship after 11 rounds – they finished ninth last year.
There are rumours, however, that the Italian name might disappear from the sport when the new set of technical regulations come into play in 2026, and Audi are said to have an interest in purchasing a team.
It is becoming one of the worst kept secrets in the pinnacle of motorsport that Volkswagen’s other subsidiary, Porsche, are poised to provide Red Bull with powertrains in four years, but there is slightly more intrigue as to Audi’s target.
Rumours have linked them to McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams and Sauber in recent months, but Imperato does not know exactly what the future holds regarding Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Sauber.
“It is now 2022,” he told Speed Week.
“We are dealing with recession and other current problems but I am planning a sponsorship of this kind every three years.
“At the moment I have no idea for 2026 but we will also cooperate with Sauber in 2023 and 2024.
“We have a long-term agreement, but this is evaluated annually.”
In general, the Frenchman is very pleased with the deal he has in place with Peter Sauber’s team, led by Frederic Vasseur as team principal, and he is satisfied with what he and his company are getting out of it.
“When we talk about working with Sauber, then yes, and when we talk about the return on investment, then yes and yes again,” added Imperato.
“The cooperation with Sauber is going extremely well. I can see that Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu love their Alfas.
“We see clear progress from the team compared to 2021 and that’s a positive story.”
As for racing in other series, he affirmed that there is no interest in starting out in anything new right now.
“No, not now, we live in a fast world, but I don’t want to get bogged down,” stated Imperato.
“We focus on our Formula 1 commitment. Should we ever be forced to make a change, it will be radical – stop immediately and start something new.”
Any potential deal between Audi and McLaren looks dead in the water after false reports of a buyout were shut down last season, but reports have suggested that Lawrence Stroll may be willing to listen to offers for his Aston Martin team.