Alfa Romeo’s comeback to Formula 1 looks set to be a brief one with reports they will leave after 2020.
The Italian brand returned to the grid for the first time since 1985 this year after buying the naming rights to the Sauber outfit, as part of closer ties to Ferrari and parent company Fiat.
However, paddock insider Joe Saward was quoted by Italian media as suggesting poor performance both in the auto market and on the track mean Alfa Romeo Racing are unlikely to want to continue their association with the Swiss team.
Not only that, there appears to be disagreement between the company and team officials over the closeness of Sauber’s relationship with Ferrari, with key figures at Sauber thought to be against becoming a ‘B-team’ to the Scuderia.
This split is already having an effect too, with team boss Fred Vasseur thought to be fiercely in favour of taking on Nico Hulkenberg for 2020, but Ferrari unwavering in their support of Antonio Giovinazzi.
There is also thought to be some concern over Kimi Raikkonen’s drop in performance too, with the 2007 world champion not scoring since Hungary.
If Alfa did decide not to continue, Saward suggested a possible deal with Honda could be on the cards, with former boss Monisha Kaltenborn initially agreeing to use the Japanese supplier back in 2017 only to be ousted and the current Ferrari deal agreed.
A potential caveat could be whether Red Bull would allow Honda to supply a third team in addition to junior squad Toro Rosso.
With no team or supplier currently signed for 2021, this means all current deals will expire and F1 has already seen McLaren take advantage to switch from Renault to Mercedes.
If a Honda partnership wasn’t possible, then Renault could well be an alternative or staying with Ferrari but perhaps under a different arrangement to now.
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