Wipe your tears, race fans, because the Andretti family doesn’t appear to be buying out the Alfa Romeo Formula One team any time soon. It turns out that all that hype was just that: Hype.
If you’ve missed out on the latest drama, Michael Andretti —son of the legendary Mario Andretti and owner of the Andretti Autosport racing team — has been looking at buying a controlling stake in the company that owns Sauber, which in turn owns the Alfa Romeo F1 team. A few vague rumors about a meeting happening between Andretti and the concerned parties took off, and fans desperate for a little American representation began speculating that Colton Herta could end up in F1 as a result of the deal.
Turns out, it’s not happening, RACER reports based on conversations with multiple sources.
Nothing nefarious appears to have gotten in the way of the deal. Instead, Andretti and Sauber were set to have talks during the United States Grand Prix weekend, and those talks were postponed. There was a vague hope that talks would continue in Mexico City during next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, but RACER says various sources disagree. Instead, the $404 million deal is entirely off the table.
Part of the issue seems to come in the form of Colton Herta, who was consistently pegged to become an Alfa Romeo driver as part of the deal. Herta was reportedly supposed to take part in Free Practice 1 during the US Grand Prix, but his Super License situation was pretty murky.
To compete in any F1 session, you need to have achieved a certain number of points by competing in a certain number of FIA-verified motorsport disciplines. Even with a COVID-mandated addendum that would have included Herta’s second-place finish in the 2018 Indy Light Championship, he wouldn’t have had enough points because the FIA only awards points if the season is contested by a certain number of drivers. The 2018 Indy Lights field was depressingly slim and didn’t make that requirement.
So, Herta couldn’t drive an F1 car in FP1, and it seems like that was an integral part of the deal.
As it stands, the Andretti/Sauber deal doesn’t look like it will make a comeback, so it’s probably time to wave goodbye to the prospect of two American-based F1 teams hitting the 2022 grid.