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Exclusive: Alfa Romeo boss on what's keeping the brand in F1

The Alfa Romeo name has been back in Formula 1 since the brand became Sauber's title sponsor in 2018. In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, the company's CEO, Jean-Philippe Imparato, explains what the future holds for the partnership.

Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato has outlined what will keep the brand in F1 as they approach contract discussions with Sauber. The Alfa Romeo name has been back on the grid since the company became Sauber's title sponsor in 2018. This led to the team starting to race under the name Alfa Romeo F1 Team from 2019 onwards. During the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Imparato spoke exclusively to RacingNews365.com about what the future holds for the partnership.

Alfa Romeo focused on sustainability

In terms of the company's goals in their wider operations, Imparato stressed that they plan to focus on electric power. "The future for us is electric: that is what we are going to focus on with Alfa Romeo," he explained. "There are different energy sources we can choose for the future and we are going for electric-powered cars. "That is why we want to produce only electric cars at Alfa Romeo from 2027 onwards. Because we think that is the future." However, this does not mean that Formula 1 will no longer be of interest to the brand in the years ahead, with F1 itself also committed to becoming increasingly sustainable. "We will continue to support motorsport when they switch to 100 per cent biofuel, for example," Imparato continued. "That is very sustainable and that is the most important thing for us. So we could look at the electric-powered racing classes, because they are also sustainable."

The conditions attached to Alfa Romeo's stay in F1

Alfa Romeo remain content with how their time in F1 is playing out: "We are extremely happy with the sponsorship we currently have with Sauber. "Sustainability is one of the three factors here, because F1 as a whole is changing in terms of sustainability, as we as Alfa Romeo are also doing. "In addition, the results achieved by the F1 team are very good and, finally, we have excellent cooperation with the team." There are certain conditions, however, that Imparato admits had to be met in order for the company to maintain their relationship with Sauber, namely that team boss Fred Vasseur would stay in his role. "Because of him we are a sponsor of this team," Imparato said. "One of our conditions for extending the contract with Sauber was that Vasseur would remain the leader of the team. We renewed the contract with Sauber last year in a very difficult time and you can see the results of that this year. "That's why I say you always have to bet on people, this team is an example of that. I am very happy with them."

Decision looming over extending partnership

A second condition in Alfa Romeo renewing their sponsorship contract was that the team would continue to race with Ferrari engines. However, with recent speculation over the possibility of Audi being interested in purchasing the outfit, this is something that could change. Sauber's current contract with Alfa Romeo is set to expire at the end of the calendar year. "Should another car manufacturer buy Sauber, we would obviously not continue with our sponsorship," Imparato stated. "However, that is totally out of the question at the moment and our focus is on next year and the year after that, not on 2026 [when the engine concept of the F1 cars will change, there will be new rules and the team might be bought]. "As I said, we are very happy with the partnership with Alfa Romeo and F1 as a whole, but it is only at the end of July that we will make an internal decision on a possible extension of the contract with Sauber."

Alfa Romeo not interested in purchasing team

Alfa Romeo themselves are not interested in buying Sauber, Imparato confirmed with a firm: "No." All in all, though, the partnership continues to prove successful from Imparato's perspective. "I am very often asked by people why we do things this way in Formula 1 and I will tell you why we do it this way. We do it because we have the best return on investment of the whole paddock, I think," he outlined. "Everything is going fine for us: we have an excellent relationship with the team, very motivated drivers and we are in a very good position compared to the big-spending leading teams in F1. "Do we have problems too? Yes, but do we have concerns? No, we don't. Life is beautiful."

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