Alfa Romeo is gearing up for a fresh start in racing following its Formula 1 exit with its focus now set on the World Endurance Championship(WEC).
Alfa Romeo has declared its intention to exit Formula 1 and focus on the World Endurance Championship (WEC) after the Italian brand’s six-year partnership with the Sauber group came to a conclusion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Although there were rumors of a possible partnership with Haas, talks never went past the initial phases.
According to Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato, WEC is the best course of action and the company had no interest partnering with Haas. The manufacturer is currently considering its options to join WEC, including a potential partnership with another Stellantis brand Peugeot.
The Alfa Romeo boss clarified why the Quadrifoglio brand rejected a partnership with Haas.
“We weren’t interested in aiming to do a copy/paste operation in the style of the one done with Sauber,” Imparato said in an interview with Motorsport.com. “It would have led us to become one of those who puts stickers on bodywork.
“It would no longer have been new and we wouldn’t have been part of a story. We started looking at something else, quickly reaching a conclusion.
“Alfa Romeo has nothing to do with the world of rallying, the Stellantis group already has two brands involved in Formula E, and so the focus has shifted to the WEC, a world in which Alfa Romeo has lived in the past wonderful experiences.”
While Sauber was acquired by Audi leading to an early breakup of the partnership, Imparato highlighted Alfa Romeo’s significant return on investment over its six-year Formula 1 operation.
“I would say [it was] the best investment in history,” he added. “We can say that in terms of image return, for every euro we spent we received 20 back.
“At the same time, we are a little sad because we are leaving a team that has embraced our brand for six years, and with which we have had an extraordinary relationship.”
Alfa Romeo is still weighing its options whether to join the WEC, and Imparato stresses that a decision will be made after giving it considerable thought.
Given that interest in the WEC is on the rise, Imparato advises against making snap decisions and emphasizes how crucial it is to comprehend the full financial ramifications of taking part in the endurance racing series.
“The WEC world is experiencing a moment of great interest, and when there is a lot of euphoria it becomes difficult to understand what level of investment is necessary to aim for the highest goals,” he said.
“We saw in 2015 [in LMP1] that uncontrolled cost escalation ultimately rebounds, so we took some time to understand how this will all play out.
“I believe it is correct to have a clear picture and know precisely what you are facing before launching into a project.”
Imparato hinted at a possible partnership with Peugeot which is yet another Stellantis brand.
“Obviously it’s one of the scenarios we evaluated,” he commented. “There are already houses within the Stellantis group whose sports programmes are in close contact, for example DS and Maserati in Formula E.
“When we return to the track we will do so with the support of Stellantis’ motorsport projects, and as Peugeot is already present in the WEC obviously co-operation is more than possible.
“Then perhaps the two projects may have parallel paths in other aspects, but in the end we are in the same family. However, I would like to clarify that at the moment we are not yet able to confirm anything.
“We will do so when we have completed the planning and evaluation of the investment.”
Alfa Romeo placed sixth in the Constructors’ Championship last year with 55 points. It’s important to note that 51 of these points were collected in the first nine races of the 2022 season, indicating Alfa Romeo’s consistent compliance with the minimum weight restrictions all season.
However, as the season went on, their rivals were able to get rid of the excess weight from their cars, which dropped the Hinwil-based company to the bottom of the standings.