Walking away from Formula 1, Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato has explained the company didn’t link up with Haas because they didn’t want to be just another “sticker.”
As Sauber’s plans to become Audi began to take shape, Alfa Romeo announced that the 2023 F1 season would be their final year as the Hinwil team’s title sponsor.
That led to reports the company could switch to Haas, another Ferrari-powered team, although team boss Guenther Steiner downplayed the rumours.
Alfa Romeo didn’t want another ‘copy/paste operation’
Asked about Haas being linked to Alfa Romeo, he said back in June: “A lot of people [are] telling that to me, the only ones which haven’t told me that yet is Alfa Romeo.
“Obviously, they are looking into what they are doing in the future, and I think they came to see us, to see how they are doing – an introduction, nothing else.
“Obviously there was nothing to hide, we just said hello and that was it. And I don’t know what they are doing in the future.”
Nothing came of those introductory talks and Alfa Romeo instead said farewell to Formula 1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Imparato explained why to Autosport.
“We weren’t interested in aiming to do a copy/paste operation in the style of the one done with Sauber,” he said.
“It would have led us to become one of those who put stickers on bodywork. It would no longer have been new and we wouldn’t have been part of a story.
“We started looking at something else, quickly reaching a conclusion.
“Alfa Romeo has nothing to do with the world of rallying, the Stellantis group already has two brands involved in Formula E, and so the focus has shifted to the WEC, a world in which Alfa Romeo has lived in the past wonderful experiences.”
Next stop the World Endurance Championship?
The Italian car manufacturer will instead head over to the World Endurance Championship although the exact plans have yet to be finalised with a tie-up with Peugeot a possibility.
“The WEC world is experiencing a moment of great interest, and when there is a lot of euphoria it becomes difficult to understand what level of investment is necessary to aim for the highest goals,” he said.
“We saw in 2015 [in LMP1] that uncontrolled cost escalation ultimately rebounds, so we took some time to understand how this will all play out.
“I believe it is correct to have a clear picture and know precisely what you are facing before launching into a project.”
“Obviously it’s one of the scenarios we evaluated. There are already houses within the Stellantis group whose sports programmes are in close contact, for example, DS and Maserati in Formula E.
“When we return to the track we will do so with the support of Stellantis’ motorsport projects, and as Peugeot is already present in the WEC obviously co-operation is more than possible.
“Then perhaps the two projects may have parallel paths in other aspects, but in the end we are in the same family.
“However, I would like to clarify that at the moment we are not yet able to confirm anything. We will do so when we have completed the planning and evaluation of the investment.”