Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo's title sponsorship agreement with the Sauber team came to an end, and the automaker formally announced its intention to withdraw from Formula 1. Talks with the American-owned team Haas did not advance far, despite early rumours tying Alfa Romeo to a possible partnership. Now that Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato has confirmed the company's dedication to the racing arena, he has stated that the motorsport focus is leaning towards a transfer to the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
As per the source, Imparato clarified that Alfa Romeo has yet to reach a conclusive decision on the strategy for entering the World Endurance Championship (WEC). In order to make this change as inexpensive as possible, the organisation is currently analysing potential options. Imparato has no qualms regarding the long-term collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Sauber, even if the F1 sponsorship was abruptly ended when the team was bought out by Audi. During their time together, he stressed, there was an extraordinary return on investment.
F1: Alfa Romeo and Sauber
In 2018, after a 30-year absence, Alfa Romeo triumphantly returned to the highest level of motorsport through a cooperation encompassing strategy, commerce, and technology. Alfa Romeo and Sauber Motorsport, two major players in Formula One history, had a fruitful partnership for the next six years.
A notable accomplishment for Alfa Romeo in the 2019 season was Kimi Raikkonen's remarkable fourth-place showing at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The seasoned driver, who won the world championship in 2007, was the most successful driver for the Alfa Romeo-Sauber F1 team during his three seasons there, amassing 57 points.
In 2024, Audi is expected to increase its investments in the squad formerly known as Sauber, setting the stage for a full purchase of the Swiss team by 2026. With 55 points, Alfa Romeo finished sixth in last year's Constructors' Championship. It is worth mentioning that in the 2022 season, 51 of these points were gained in the first nine races, demonstrating Alfa Romeo's constant adherence to the minimum weight restriction throughout the entire season. But as the season progressed, their competitors managed to get rid of the extra weight of their vehicles, sending the Hinwil-based firm down to the bottom of the starting grid.
F1: Sauber Commits 2024 to an All-new F1 Car
The 2024 Formula 1 season will see a complete change at Sauber, as the team has announced a whole new vehicle. The current C43 model has been pushed to its limits and has not produced the expected performance gains, which led to this conclusion. The squad has struggled this season and is planning to return to the Sauber name next year before switching to Audi in 2026.
Despite drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu's best efforts, the team finished in ninth place in the constructors' championship, with a lead of just four points over the last-place Haas team. Their combined point total is just sixteen.
James Key, the team's newly hired technical director, oversaw a comprehensive review at Hinwil headquarters, and the results suggested that trying to squeeze any additional improvements from the present design into the next season would be fruitless.
In 2024, Bottas and Zhou will continue to be teammates for the third year in a row. Bottas finished the season in fifteenth place in the drivers' standings, while Zhou finished in eighteenth place. This consistency arises from the fact that they first teamed up at the start of the most recent ground effect period in Formula 1.