Stellantis CEO defends Alfa Romeo, Sauber partnership

Jamie Woodhouse
Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo on the grid. Imola April 2022.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares feels it is time for more open-mindedness in Formula 1 regarding business models, like Alfa Romeo-Sauber.

Alfa Romeo’s presence in Formula 1 is rather unique, as although the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Team is on the grid, the team is not actually owned and run by Alfa Romeo.

Instead, since 2019, Sauber has operated the team under the Alfa Romeo name as part of a partnership between the two.

Jean Philippe Imparato, the Alfa Romeo CEO, recently confirmed that Alfa Romeo will review the partnership and announce whether or not it is to be renewed in July.

Motorsport.com would ask Tavares whether there is an interest for Alfa Romeo to have a firmer presence in Formula 1, beyond just the name and the colours of the car.

He responded though by explaining that there is not one single business model for Formula 1, a reality which he believes people should start getting their heads around.

Alfa Romeo set to send Zhou Guanyu out. Australia, April 2022.

Asked if Alfa Romeo want more than their current ‘branding exercise’ in Formula 1, Tavares replied: “I would like to respectfully disagree and avoid speculation.

“Today we have a strong partnership that works, the team is called Alfa Romeo F1 Team, and I don’t think it’s fair to criticise the fact that we have a strong partnership.

“Why should we think there is only one way to be in F1? What is the advantage? We want motorsport fans to see good racing, overtaking, braking, tyre management, etc, and that’s what matters.

“What I would like to stress is that there is no one way to be in F1, I wonder what is wrong with having a strong partnership within a team called Alfa Romeo F1 Team.

“If the team is motivated, if the employees are enthusiastic about what they are doing, if the results are improving, if the drivers say the car is getting better and better, if we are here today to discuss Alfa Romeo… well, it’s because it works. And that’s it.

“So we should open our minds to the fact that the business models on F1 presence are more than one, maybe two, maybe three, maybe more. That’s my answer.”

Tavares was also asked if he would like to see an Italian driver back within the Alfa Romeo team, after Antonio Giovinazzi was dropped from the line-up at the end of 2021.

He is very open to that idea, but stressed that it would have to come about thanks to performance.

“If he’s going to be the best, why not, I’d love it,” said Tavares.

“We just need to make sure he’s helping to make a difference on the grid, it’s all about performance.”

 

Alfa Romeo introduced an all-new line-up for 2022 consisting of Valtteri Bottas and rookie Zhou Guanyu.

Bottas is already enjoying life with the team, scoring 24 points in the opening four races, with a best result of P5 at Imola.

 

Valtteri Bottas 8/10 - Italian GP Driver Ratings

Valtteri Bottas has been fantastic in his new team and role within Alfa Romeo, and he produced another brilliant drive in Imola to come home in fifth.