Alfa Romeo is set to return to Formula One next year as the title sponsor of the Sauber team, but another legendary Italian name could end up back on the F1 grid alongside it. Maserati could make a return to F1 in a similar manner to Alfa, putting its brand on an existing team. It would be the first time Maserati has raced in F1 in any capacity in decades.
Just as Alfa Romeo will become the title sponsor of the Sauber team rather than starting a team of its own, Maserati could place its trident logo on cars of the Haas team, reports Auto Express. It’s a much simpler and easier option than starting a new team, and would give Haas an infusion of cash that could help it become more competitive.
“Is it possible for the Haas arrangement to turn into something other than what we have today? The answer is potentially “yes,” Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Maserati parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) told PlanetF1.com. “But we’re very far away from a resolution on that matter, but it’s possible. We’ll see. Time will tell.”
Owned by machine-tool magnate Gene Haas, Haas F1 is the only American team currently racing in Formula One. But it’s American only in terms of ownership: Haas uses Ferrari powertrains, and leans on both Ferrari and Italian race-car maker Dallara for much of the development work on its cars. In 2017, its drivers were Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Dane Kevin Magnussen.
A Maserati-Haas union does make sense. Haas would be able to continue using Ferrari powertrains, since Maserati would likely turn to its corporate cousin the same way Alfa did in its deal with Sauber. Haas cars are already mostly Italian, so the deal would seem like more than mere marketing. Haas would get its first-ever big sponsor, and Maserati would have an easy way back into F1.
Maserati has achieved its share of F1 glory, but only in the distant past. The last of its two championships came in 1957, with a legendary driver and car. They were Juan Manuel Fangio and the 250F, respectively. Fangio is considered one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, and the 250F scored all nine of Maserati’s race wins. Maserati’s fortunes deteriorated in the 1960s, and financial troubles forced it out of F1 completely by the end of the decade.
Today, Maserati is stuck in the shadow of Alfa and Ferrari. FCA has discussed grandiose plans to revive the brand with a range of hybrids, but seems to be putting few resources into future vehicle development. A return to F1 could help put Maserati back on people’s radar.