Alfa Romeo announced last month that it would complete its sponsorship deal with the Sauber team at the end of the 2023 season ahead of the Swiss team’s expected alliance with Audi.
Alfa’s announcement was made the same day Audi confirmed its intention to enter F1 in 2026, and it was seen by some observers as a clumsy attempt to distract from it.
Alfa can only stay in F1 beyond 2023 if it can strike a deal with a team using Ferrari engines, which leaves Haas as the only option for now. The only other possibility would be to connect with a newcomer who accepts a PU partnership with Maranello, like Andretti.
Alternatively, the company could consider other categories, such as Formula E or WEC.
Like other manufacturers, Alfa is moving towards electric vehicles, which could inform any decision on its future in motorsport.
“I’m totally open to anything,” Imperato told Autosport. “By the way, it’s a period that gives me the opportunity to study everything without pressure. That’s what I have.”
“And I would say that even if we have to make a decision before the end of this year, we have a few weeks, months, to see how things are going, and also to choose in a kind of serene atmosphere.
“So I’m in no rush. Everything is on the table, I would say. I would like to find the best compromise between motorsport DNA and the EV transition you see.
“What I try to build is this coherence between my story and the necessary existential movement that I have to make. And it’s not obvious, I would say, between the DNA story and the change.
Jean Philippe Imparato, Brand CEO, Alfa Romeo
Photo by: Jean-Philippe Imparato
While declining to comment on Sauber’s expected deal with Audi, Imparato said the timing of the 2023 contract announcement was to provide “clarity” about his involvement.
“The need for clarity seems to be very important. So what I wanted to send as a message was super simple. Firstly, I am renewing the contract with Sauber Engineering for 2023, for one reason: we are happy with them.
“Not only on the business side, because on the business side, I probably have the best return on investment in the paddock. But along the way, we work together. We are working on special editions, but we have also organized special events with GTA owners, with classic owners. We are happy to be together.
“Second message, never forget that I have an annual contract with Sauber Engineering with annual evaluation. And I can go out every end of July in any year.
“Third message, 2024 will be the first year that I will launch a 100% EV offer for Alfa Romeo. So at some point, as you cannot predict three months, I have to plan for more than that.
“So I said guys, we have to open a new chapter in our history, a new chapter in our adventure, so this is more than a story with Sauber, and with motorsport, and let’s use this context to be clear. And that was a sense of our communication.
When asked if a WEC project was a future option, Imparato insisted that anything is possible.
“Nothing definitive on 24, absolutely nothing. Today I am focusing on 2022-23. In the coming months I can say that we will be ready to open reflection and studies 2024, 25, 26.
“And I will come back to you the day I consider that I have something that is consistent with my DNA, with the Italian sportiness of Alfa Romeo. I have to be consistent – Italian sportiness, for me it is the signature of Alfa Romeo.
He added: “It’s very clear, for clarity again, we will never run any engine other than Ferrari if we were to stay in F1.