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Alfa Romeo Racing

Sauber chief left team due to disagreement over driver changes

Pascal Picci has revealed the reasons behind his exit from Sauber Motorsport and the Alfa Romeo F1 team.

Raikkonen Brazil
To news overview © Alfa Romeo

Pascal Picci has explained that he stepped away from his role as Sauber Chairman due to disagreements over the future of the Alfa Romeo F1 team, including their driver line-up for the 2022 season.

Picci departed Sauber Motorsport - which operates the Alfa Romeo squad - following this month's Mexican Grand Prix, saying he "slammed the door" on the way out amid frustration with team boss Frederic Vasseur.

"I do not want to be associated with the management of Fred Vasseur in the future," Picci told Motorsport.com Italy.

Bottas and Zhou in, Giovinazzi out

Alfa Romeo will field an all-new driver line-up in 2022, with Kimi Raikkonen retiring and Antonio Giovinazzi losing his spot. In their places come Valtteri Bottas and Formula 2 frontrunner Guanyu Zhou.

Picci is reported to have been unhappy about Bottas "parachuting" in from Mercedes, which goes against Alfa Romeo's ties with Ferrari, and would have preferred Giovinazzi to stay alongside Zhou.

"The way in which the drivers were chosen was one of the points that broke the table between me and the current management," explained Picci.

"I am sorry that Antonio is no longer here, [while] I am happy that Zhou will arrive. I have known Zhou and also his family ever since we wanted to take him to the Sauber Driver Academy, as well as [looking at] the commercial opportunities that he can open up."

No concerns about the team's future

Despite the disagreements with Vasseur and his subsequent exit, Picci is not worried about Alfa Romeo's future, expressing his faith in the team's ownership - the Islero Investments consortium led by Finn Rausing.

"He is free to make choices, he represents the shareholders and is a reliable person who puts all his passion and energy into it," added Picci of Rausing.

"I am calm about the future of the team because the owners of the team are enthusiastic, and very passionate people, whose number one priority is the protection of the staff who make up the team.

"My resignation, therefore, must in no way become a cause for concern for the Sauber staff - of this I am sure."

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