Last weekend’s announcement that the Alfa Romeo name is returning to Formula 1 after a three decade absence may be about to be followed by similar news about Maserati.
Both marques are part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire. Sergio Marchionne is president of both FCA and the Formula 1 Ferrari team. He’s confirmed that he Alfa Romeo name will badge Ferrari’s supply of engines to Sauber for the 2018 season.
And now media reports suggest that a similar deal could put the coveted Maserati brand onto next year’s Haas.
“Is it possible for the Haas arrangement to turn into something other than what we have today?” Marchionne told PlanetF1.com at the weekend. “The answer is potentially yes.
“We’re very far away from a resolution on that matter, but it’s possible,” he added. “We’ll see. Time will tell.”
Maserati was one of the earliest teams involved in Formula 1. They won two world championships with Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 and 1957 in the legendary 250F. The same car saw Maria Teresa de Fillipis become the first woman to race in Formula 1 in 1958.
Maserati’s most recent official participation in Formula 1 was as engine supplier to the British Cooper team in the 1960s. It’s also taken part in the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hour race. More recently it’s been linked with a possible move into Formula E.
Haas has had close links with Ferrari ever since it entered Formula 1. As well as taking Ferrari engines, the American team also has a technical and strategic partnership with Maranello. It already relies on long-time Maserati partner Dallara for the development of its Formula 1 chassis.
- Alfa Romeo returns to Grand Prix racing with Sauber!
To date, Haas has been largely self-financed by billionaire businessman Gene Haas. A title sponsorship tie-up with Maserati could boost the team’s coffers by an estimated 20 million euros a year. Most of that money would probably go direct to Ferrari in payment for its powertrain.
The reports suggest that the deal could be in place in time for the start of the 2018 championship.
In return, Ferrari would likely expect a bigger say in Haas’ driver line-up. Its deal with Sauber included Ferrari Driver Academy graduate Charles Leclerc taking a race seat, with Antonio Giovinazzi as test and development driver.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said this week that he had turned down a Ferrari request to continue to use Giovinazzi in Friday free practice outings in 2018.
“They asked,” Steiner said. “They did not pressure us. We quickly clarified that we have two drivers next year. It was pretty straightforward.”
Ferrari’s apparent drive to form a three-team Ferrari squadron would also give it a stronger hand in negotiations with Formula 1’s owners about the future direction of the sport.
Marchionne has repeatedly threatened to pull Ferrari out of the sport if current proposals for 2021 engine regulations aren’t rethought.
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