Sauber extend deal to keep Alfa Romeo branding on car

2021 F1 Season

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Sauber will continue to run their cars with Alfa Romeo branding beyond this year following the announcement today of a new agreement.

The deal between the Swiss-based F1 team and Italian car brand was previously extended in 2019, when the team’s official name changed from Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team to Alfa Romeo.

Team principal Frédéric Vasseur said the manufacturer has been “an incredible companion over the last few years, and we are even more excited about the chapters that are yet to come.”

Vasseur sees the sweeping changes to next year’s technical regulations as “the chance to make another step forward and I firmly believe we are perfectly placed to make big gains together.”

The new deal will be assessed on a year-by-year basis, Alfa Romeo confirmed. It is believed to cover the next three years.

Vasseur said extending the partnership will provide opportunities both for Alfa Romeo to help Sauber’s recovery and for Sauber’s engineering expertise to feed into their road cars.

“The work we have done in the automotive world has shown the extent of the technology and manufacturing skills of Sauber Engineering and we are confident we can continue working for Alfa Romeo on new and exciting projects that will shape the future of the car industry.”

Alfa Romeo is part of the Stellantis automotive group, made up of 14 brands from the Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot Groups, which merged at the turn of the year.

CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said that the Sauber partnership and engineering opportunities offered would strengthen their pathway towards electrification. “As an historic Italian automotive brand, Alfa Romeo was born on the race track.

“Today we are proud to continue honouring that racing DNA by placing it at heart of the future of our Brand. We are driven by passion and excellence.

“Formula 1 represents a cutting-edge laboratory for the future electrification of our range, fully coherent with our vision for the coming years. Furthermore, motorsport brings the incomparable global exposure we wish to leverage for a successful future.”

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 22 comments on “Sauber extend deal to keep Alfa Romeo branding on car”

    1. Good news as long as there’s no clause that states there has to be an Italian driver in the team next year. Of course, they could just promote Shwartzman and slap an Italian flag on him, his Italian is perfect, he’s spent many years there and he can’t use the Russian flag anyway.

      Are Ferrari also a part of Stellantis? Or does John Elkann have independent charge of the two?

      1. Ferrari are a seperate entity to Stellantis @wsrgo, but yeah Elkann being on top of both of them (and the historical ties between Ferrari and FIAT) does mean that they are working in unity in many aspects.

        For me the most interesting (probably a bit of a surprise actually) is that they really see a path for Alfa Romeo to start making enough headway, building and selling enough cars, to have it make sense to have an F1 team. I guess it might help alleviate the issues in placing Ferrari engineers with the budget cap coming in. And politically within the sport too. But otherwise, it seems even more of a stretch that Alpha could support its own F1 team as it is for something like Alpine. Or possibly AM, although that brand at least has a wider appeal and image that fits.

        1. Elkann being on top of both of them (and the historical ties between Ferrari and FIAT) does mean that they are working in unity in many aspects.

          That would not be legal; has to be arm’s-length.
          But they can be preferred partners and find Win-Win-Win deals.

        2. @bascb whilst you talk about Alfa Romeo “having an F1 team”, that isn’t really how this deal is structured.

          This sponsorship deal has not changed the ownership of the team, and the management structure of the team is also unchanged. Similarly, the technical department is largely unchanged, with relatively little change in recruitment policies or the people at the team, day to day strategic operations are made by Sauber, not by Alfa Romeo, and there have been no changes in any of the facilities that have been used by the team. Even the chassis numbering system still follows the same template set by Sauber, with no acknowledgement of Alfa Romeo’s influence in that area.

          In effect, the structure of this deal is really more that of Alfa Romeo being just the primary sponsor and thus having the best naming rights. Comparatively speaking, it’s going to be a much smaller investment for Alfa Romeo than it is for Renault, for example, to run the Alpine team.

        3. It’s Alfa Romeo, not Alpha though

    2. So what happens to Alfa Sauber after 2024. Will they move to FE or is F1 in 2024 electric enough for E-Alfa?

    3. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      14th July 2021, 14:53

      I never really understood why they’re there. It’s just branding isn’t it? They’re no more Alfa Romeo as Red Bull’s Tag Heuer engines were Tag Heuer.

      1. Ted Kravitz on Sky F1 often refers to the team as “Alfa Romeo Sauber” in his paddock walkabout programmes

        1. Tommy Scragend
          15th July 2021, 10:18

          I remember a discussion between Kravitz and Crofty over whether Kubica’s win for BMW Sauber should actually be considered a win for Sauber, because the team was de facto a BMW manufacturer team at the time. Can’t remember who was on which side of the argument though.

      2. I never really understood why they’re there. It’s just branding isn’t it?

        Isn’t that exactly the same as Aston Martin Racing vs Aston Martin Lagonda?
        And Mercedes F1 team is slowly going that direction as well.

        I’ll check next time if Kravitz refers to them as Aston Martin Lagonda Aston Martin Racing

        1. He could do, but chooses not to? Who knows? Maybe ask him?

          Anyway… just commenting on what I’d heard during the programme. Nothing more than that. No detailed analysis needed

      3. @rocketpanda …mercedes. it has been like this for a while.

      4. They do this because to the casual observer it looks like they have an F1 team and they get to avoid spending USD100 million for the privilege…

    4. Stellantis announced last week it will rebrand Alfa Romeo as ‘Alfa e-Romeo’ from 2024, as part of its wider electrification strategy.

      That’s a great way to ruin a legendary brand. It would have made more sense to introduce a new electric segment with a new name rather than messing with the original label like Mercedes EQ for example.
      Why not also rename Ferrari as F e-Rrari. That would be great too.

      1. @tifoso1989 tbf (at least in Britain) Alfa Romeo is pretty legendary for all the wrong reasons. I don’t really mind tbh.

      2. I hope this is only a bad joke, but the Agnelli/Elkann family has never shown much appreciation for this historic brand.

    5. very happy,
      very good news !

    6. Stellantis announced last week it will rebrand Alfa Romeo as ‘Alfa e-Romeo’ from 2024, as part of its wider electrification strategy.

      Oh dear.

    7. Fantastic news.
      They are a much better team since they started using Alfa Romeo technology.

      1. Is marketing a technology?

    8. G (@unklegsif)
      15th July 2021, 10:25

      This was released in the JSBM newsletter nearly 2 weeks ago, I believe

      G

    9. Still Sauber, but a Swiss Alfa.

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