Alfa’s immediate future in the sport looks assured for now, as the CEO of the FCA Group said that the team are ‘on the right road’.
Last week, the owners of the Alfa Romeo brand, the FCA Group, confirmed they were in discussion with French owned PSA Groupe regarding a merger that would see the two companies form a new company between them to form the world’s fourth largest car manufacturer in terms of sales.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles own brands like FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep and Dodge, while PSA Groupe own Puegeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall.
Since then, the FCA and PSA have confirmed that this merger will take place – it’s expected to take around four years to complete. The board will be split 50/50 between the two existing companies, with John Elkann nominated as Chairman. Elkann is the current chair of the FCA, as well as Ferrari, as well as chair of the Exor holding group that part owns both. Carlos Tavares of the PSA is to be appointed as CEO.
With Alfa Romeo’s sales figures in Europe being quite low, there has been recent rumour suggesting that the title sponsorship agreement between Alfa and Sauber (racing in Formula 1 as Alfa Romeo Racing) could be under threat at the end of the contract in 2020, particularly in light of changes at the top of the controlling companies.
When asked for comment about the merger, a spokesperson told FormulaSpy “We have a contract in place with the FCA Group and we won’t comment on the PSA merger as it doesn’t affect that”.
The announcement of Antonio Giovinazzi’s contract renewal with Alfa Romeo as a race driver for 2020 took place on Monday at Alfa’s presentation of the new MY2020 Giulia and Stelvio cars at Valle d’Itria in Apulia, where FCA CEO Mike Manley said the team are ‘on the right road’ as they fight their way up from the back of the grid. While Alfa currently hold P8 in the Constructor’s Championship, the same position last year racing as Sauber, the team have looked an altogether more competitive outfit throughout most of this year – particularly in the middle part of the year as Kimi Raikkonen went on a points scoring spree.
“We are particularly excited to announce about the renewal of Antonio Giovinazzi’s contract with Alfa Romeo Racing during this important occasion for Alfa Romeo.” said Manley at the event. “The enthusiastic response from spectators and the improvement in the results on track have confirmed that the Alfa Romeo Racing team is on the right road, a fine ambassador for the tradition of European technical excellence and Italian style. Following Antonio’s contract extension with the team, we expect to continue making progress, both technically and on track, and add to Alfa Romeo’s long and glorious history in Formula 1.”