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The Haas F1 Team could link up with the Italian carmaker Maserati for the 2018 Formula 1 season.
Days ago, it became official that Ferrari-powered Sauber's new title sponsor would be Alfa Romeo, a Fiat-owned luxury car manufacturer. And now, Italian newspapers including Corriere della Sera say another Fiat brand could now follow Alfa into F1.
Fiat Chrysler president Sergio Marchionne is said to be in advanced negotiations with another Ferrari-powered F1 team, Haas, about a Maserati title-sponsorship deal.
The report said talks with Gene Haas are currently taking place, even though the American businessman is not commenting.
When asked about the Maserati rumors a few days ago, Marchionne said: "We will see. Time will tell. We are thinking about it, but we have not made any decision yet."
Italian luxury carmaker Maserati, a unit of Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) could return to F1, as early as next year, taking over naming rights for The Haas Team (US)
Sergio Marchionne CEO of both Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) and Maserati’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is preparing to send the Modena brand back to the F1 grid for the 1st time in nearly 60 years.
The deal will give Haas, the sport’s only US team, its 1st major sponsor after 2 self-funded years in the Tier 1 motorsport, with Maserati paying a about $30-M a season place the Trident the racers. Ferrari already provides the engines.
Effectively, the deal pays all of Haas’s Ferrari V6 powertrain costs.
Like Alfa Romeo’s sponsorship of Switzerland’s Sauber, it would effectively see Maserati paying Ferrari about $25-M a season, via Haas.
The Maserati-Haas outfit will be the 4th Italian team on the Y 2018 F1 grid, though only Toro Rosso and Ferrari will actually be based in Italy.
Ferrari is 2Xing down on the sport creating a 3-team voting bloc against the FIA’s proposed changes to its Y 2019 engine regulations.
Haas and Sauber already ran Ferrari power-trains, though only Haas used a current powertrain this season and Sauber ran with a Y 2016 power unit.
The new deals will see both teams use current Ferrari powertrain developments paid for by FCA.
The Maserati brand has a super F1 history with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio winning its last of its 2 driver’s championships in a 250F in Y 1957.
It has 9 Grand Prix wins to its credit, all in the post-war 250F that was still a F1 force in private hands into Y 1960 and helped Maria Teresa de Fillipis become the 1st woman to race in F1 Grand Prix in Y Y 1958.
The 250F was also entered grands Prix by private teams after the demise of the factory team and saw action in the hands of World Champions like Sir Jack Brabham, Phil Hill and Mike Hawthorn, along with other big-name racers Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory, Roy Salvadori and Jo Bonnier.
Maserati also has 2 Indianapolis 500 wins to its credit, with Wilbur Shaw dominating in both Ys 1939 and 1940 in a supercharged, Straight-8 8CTF. He was leading in the same car in Y 1941, too, but a badly fitted wheel broke and the crash ended his career.
Maserati’s driving roster is a Who’s Who of the early years of the F1 World Championship, including Fangio, 2X world champion Alberto Ascari, Louis Chiron, Stirling Moss and Peter Collins.
The former Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo fought against Maserati involvement in F1 racing.
It made a serious move at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, with Ferrari’s full approval, but the long-bodied MC12 hypercar failed to pass the “spirit of the regulations” test of the governing body, the ACO.
It consoled itself by using the glorious-looking, Enzo-based V12 to dominate the FIA GT championship for the 1st decade of this Century, winning 5 team titles running from Y 2005 and 4 drivers’ championships, then using the same car to win the FIA GT1 title in Y 2010.
Maserati has seen its sales boom since it was fully taken into the FCA fold from Ferrari management, with sales growing from below 10,000 a year less than a decade ago to more than 42,000 last year on the back of its 1st SUV, the Levante.