Following weeks of speculation about the US organisation looking at F1 opportunities, insiders with good knowledge of the situation say negotiations with Alfa Romeo’s owners are now at a very advanced stage.
With its owner, former Formula 1 driver Michael Andretti, eager to add a grand prix team to his portfolio, there are suggestions that the takeover could be approved in a matter of weeks.
However, it is understood that no final decision has been taken yet by the Islero Investments company that is the current owner of the Alfa Romeo team, following the Swiss squad’s takeover by Swedish investment firm Longbow Finance in 2016.
Should the go-ahead be given, then it will see Andretti Autosport add another series to its current activities, which includes IndyCar, Indy Lights, IMSA, Formula E, Supercars championship and Extreme E.
The Alfa Romeo team has declined to comment on the current situation, and team principal Fred Vasseur made it clear at the Turkish Grand Prix that any discussions about the ownership of the squad were nothing that he would be involved in personally.
“I can say nothing because honestly it’s not in my parameter,” he said. “I’m the CEO and team principal and these kind of discussions are not with me, it would be with the shareholders. We have so many rumours and so on that you have to ask the question to the shareholders of the company.”
Sources have suggested that Andretti has become attracted to F1 because of the move towards a new rules era from 2022 – with a more level playing field between teams and the ongoing possibility of co-operation between manufacturers and customer squads.
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
While Andretti had expressed interest in the past about joining F1 only if he could run a customer car, the implications of the cost cap era that Liberty Media has helped introduce has given him reason to feel that there are good opportunities to jump in now.
Alfa Romeo has close ties with Ferrari and recently extended a long-term partnership with Alfa Romeo for that relationship to continue, giving the team a fair deal of security for the next few years.
Any deal for Andretti to take charge of Alfa Romeo would also open up the door for IndyCar frontrunner Colton Herta to potentially make a move to F1 in the longer term, should he acquire enough F1 superlicence points.
Herta impressed greatly for Andretti Autosport this year and signed a long-term contract back in May that keeps him committed to the team for a while.
However, any move to F1 in 2023 or beyond could also open the door for Andretti’s Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood to step up to the IndyCar team full time, with his future currently uncertain.