Andretti Says ‘Control Issues’ Killed Sauber F1 Deal

IndyCar Series driver Takuma Sato (left) celebrates with team owner Michael Andretti after winning the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, Ind., USA, on May 28, 2017. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

U.S. motor racing entrepreneur Michael Andretti said on Thursday that ‘control issues’ had led to the collapse of takeover talks with the owners of Sauber, who run the Alfa Romeo Formula One team.

Andretti— former IndyCar champion, F1 racer, and son of 1978 Formula One world champion Mario—had been in advanced talks with Sauber ahead of last month’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

“I’d just like to put an end to some of these rumours that the deal fell through because of financial reasons,” the Andretti Autosport boss told reporters after announcing rookie Devlin DeFrancesco as his latest IndyCar signing.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth. It had nothing to do with that.

“It basically came down to control issues in the final hours of the negotiations. That’s what killed the deal,” said the American, who has long wanted to add a Formula One team to his motorsport activities.

Swiss-based Sauber were bought by investment firm Longbow Finance in 2016, with Islero Investments taking control of Sauber Holdings in 2018. Islero are linked to Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing.

Andretti has interests in IndyCar, the electric Formula E and Extreme E series as well as sportscars.

Ferrari-powered Alfa, ninth in the standings, have signed Finland’s Valtteri Bottas from reigning champions Mercedes for 2022 but have yet to confirm their full lineup.

By Alan Baldwin

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Pezou : Andretti Says ‘Control Issues’ Killed Sauber F1 Deal