Frederic Vasseur admits to talks with Audi regarding takeover, engine supply deal

Sauber are potentially going to be the subject of an Audi takeover bid.

Alfa Romeo team principal, Frederic Vasseur, does not want to disrespect the Italian car company by focusing on Audi, and insists that he wants to keep Sauber’s attention on their current partnership.

Alfa Romeo began their partnership with Sauber in 2018 when they purchased shares with the Swiss outfit and became a name partner.

They intensified their involvement in the project by buying the naming rights in 2019 as the Sauber name disappeared from the pinnacle of motorsport, but the team and the driving force behind it is still very much Sauber.

Alfa have been performing well in the early part of 2022 with their new partnership of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, the pair scoring points on nine occasions between them.

READ: ‘It won’t be an easy choice’: Zhou has given Alfa Romeo a ‘luxury problem’

They developed well last year in preparation for the new technical regulations, and they are collaborating to develop the car and the brand to become a leading team in Formula 1.

However, there may be an expiry date on the relationship, and that may be at the end of the 2025 season, with Audi reportedly looking to buy a team.

Their fellow Volkswagen subsidiary, Porsche, are set to supply Red Bull and AlphaTauri with engines in four years’ time, but less certain have been Audi’s intentions.

They reportedly made an attempt to buy McLaren last season, and are since thought to have approached Aston Martin about a possible purchase of Lawrence Stroll’s team.

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The Sauber Group is now looking the most likely option, but Vasseur does not want to take his focus away from the healthy partnership Sauber have with Alfa Romeo currently.

“I am more than happy with the partnership with them, because they are not just a sponsor, but we are partners and developing projects together,” he told 

“On top of everything, the relationship between Alfa Romeo [and] Stellantis at one end and the team at the other end is very, very good. 

“I think also, somehow, perhaps part of the good results today is because we are all working together, and they are helping us also to find other partners. I really enjoy the partnership.” 

The Frenchman quipped that looking ahead to 2026 is difficult, as he is already “struggling to speak about ’23,” but he suggested that Audi need to come up with a convincing logistical proposal for how they would run a competitive team.

That, for him, starts with establishing where the power units are going to come from under the new regulations being introduced after 2025.

“First, I think they need to clarify the situation on the engine,” added Vasseur. 

“Sure, they’ll discuss with everybody in the paddock, they’ll do their job. 

“As soon as they’ll have confirmation of their commitment on the engine, it’s probably time to discuss. 

READ: Audi warn they’re likely to miss key F1 deadline

“But the most important thing is we have the project with Alfa Romeo today, I don’t want to mix everything, I want to give the best to Alfa Romeo.”  

Alfa Romeo are sixth in the Drivers’ Standings heading into the 14th round of the season this weekend in Belgium.