For Alfa Romeo and the Sauber F1 Team, the 2023 season will be the last in a partnership announced on 29 November 2017, in the presence of president Sergio Marchionne and newcomer (in Formula 1) Charles Leclerc.
A season that will kick off next week, first with the presentation of the 2023 single-seater on February 7 and immediately after with a filming day in Barcelona. But, as always happens in these cases, together with the ‘last dance’ balances also take off, and beyond the feedback that will come from the season that is about to start, for Alfa Romeo they are all very positive.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake x BOOGIE art car
Photo by: Alfa Romeo
This was clarified by Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of the ‘Biscione’ as well as a great motorsport enthusiast.
“In terms of cost/profit ratio, we had a return twenty times higher than the investment made – explains Imparato – the presence in Formula 1 has given a great boost to the Alfa Romeo brand all over the world. Most of all, having Guanyu Zhou participate in the launch of the Tonale in China, or Valtteri Bottas who stays three hours in the Arese museum and does everything to buy the new GTA, is a great added value. Good for Valtteri, however, I’m still on the waiting list for the GTA…”.
“We have a team that took sixth place in the Constructors’ championship last season – continues Imparato – I remember that a year ago these days there were several comments and many doubts regarding the decision to hire Guanyu Zhou in the team, today we can say who gave his important contribution to the result achieved in 2022″.
Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari
Photo by: Ferrari
“Now, as everyone knows, Frederic Vasseur has moved to Ferrari, but we have taken with us a figure of great depth like Andreas Seidl, guaranteeing continuity with Alessandro Alunni Bravi. The team spirit is there, we all talk twice a day ”.
The subject is the present, but curiosity immediately shifts to future plans. What will Alfa Romeo do starting next season? Nothing has been decided yet, but the impression is that of a return of the iconic Italian brand to the Endurance world.
“We’ll talk about it in June – clarifies Imparato – we’ll make decisions about future plans at the end of May and we’ll communicate them shortly thereafter. Let’s say that the announcement could take place in two places, either at the Le Mans Classic at the end of June, an event in which we are also organizing something special, or at the Silverstone Grand Prix on 9 July”.
Alfa Romeo 33TT12: technical cross-section from 1973
Photo by: George Piola
The two venues are not accidental, in the first case an Endurance program will be announced (rumors indicate an LMDh project) in the second, an agreement with an F1 team.
Some small signal in this regard comes from Imparato himself, teased about a possible exit from the Formula 1 scenario:
“I’m in love with motorsport, and I recognize Formula 1 as excellence. But I’m also in love with the history of Alfa Romeo, a journey during which important pages have been written both in Formula 1 and in the world of Sport Prototypes. We have to choose between the various options we have on the table, we want to stay in motorsport because it’s in our DNA, but we can’t set aside the financial aspect and this is also why we haven’t decided anything at the moment. Then there is also another aspect, we want to be more involved in operations and on the technological front”.
The conclusion of the agreement between Alfa Romeo and Sauber coincides with the progressive entry of Audi into the Swiss team’s share package. An operation, that of the German company, very far from Alfa Romeo’s vision.
“We cannot think of investments, as others have done at the moment – underlined Imparato – the average level of investment to buy and develop a Formula 1 team is totally disconnected from our vision. We’re talking about figures that could allow us to invest in the new generation of Stelvio and Giulia, dream of a new Duetto or an Alfetta. But we still want to be in motorsport, there are various possibilities and we’ll decide soon”.
All this, with a careful eye on the budget, a crucial element in Arese’s choices…
“If you don’t make a profit, you can’t think of investing in motorsport – concluded Imparato – I can confirm that we achieved good results in 2022, we are growing, Tonale guarantees us an order portfolio six times greater than twelve months ago, in fact, we double our monthly activity”.
“In addition, the Alfa Romeo product plan up to 2030 was launched, with the launch of a new model every year. We have embarked on the path to zero emissions and launched investments in the software branch, a mandatory step to guarantee a future for the brand. But we want to stay in motorsport, and you will know our decision in a few months.”
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