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Andretti's plans: Hurdles before entering F1

Andretti’s plans: Hurdles before entering F1

Mario Andretti is the face of American motorsport. The 1978 World Champion and 1969 Indy Award winner is still more popular in the United States than most current drivers, 44 years after winning the title. He has to shake hands more and be ready to take more selfies than world champion Max Verstappen. Its name means quality. You don’t have to explain to any American who Andretti is or what Andretti does. The name shine also shines on his son Michael, who himself has had an impressive motorsport career with 42 IndyCar victories and a 13 GP start.

Today, Michael Andretti and his teams are present at many racing series. Whether directly or through partnerships, Andretti Autosport leads the IndyCar series, IMSA, Formula E, Australian V8 Supercars and most recently in Extreme E. But Andretti junior is not enough. He wants to enter Formula 1 at any cost. “Michael has everything you need. The project is long-term,” Mario announces to his son.

In fact, Michael Andretti applied to the FIA ​​for the eleventh position in the club. In theory, there is room for twelve teams to race on the field. The FIA ​​has not yet responded to the Americans, because first of all there is a need for a process regarding the criteria by which a new team will be accepted. The contract from 2015, when Haas acquired the contract, is no longer valid today.

The FIA ​​also needs the green light from the rights holders. Liberty has always made it clear that it is only interested in expanding the field if it brings a demonstrable benefit to Formula 1. If the assessment is positive, the association will have to publicly announce the 11th place. There could be more applicants. Everyone will then have to prove that they meet all the requirements. Mario Andretti is convinced: “We can do it.” And more: “With an American team and driver, interest will explode again.”


Racing legend Mario Andretti has promoted a Formula One project to his son in Miami.

Between doubt and rejection

The ten established teams may not have a voice in the process, but they are busy making policy. Nobody dares to say frankly what they really think. Much skepticism can be read between the lines. One can also say rejection.

This is evidenced by the statements of the Miami team chiefs: “I am sure that an American team with an American driver would be an advantage. But today we divide the income by ten. All the teams have invested large sums over the past 10 years for Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: If the new team is able to bring us more than the costs, we should sit down and talk about it. So far, this has not been proven.”

Red Bull teammate Christian Horner expressed similar skepticism. “The 10 licenses are very valuable. If we expand to 11 teams, we have to ask ourselves how that will affect the revenue for each team. Money is an important factor. But in the end, Liberty has to decide if they want it.”

McLaren boss Zak Brown is friendlier: “Every newcomer has to make the sport bigger. I think the Andretti name will add value to the business in the long run. The name, background and finances are right. That’s why we support him.”

Andretti Autosport logo

motorsports pictures

Andretti Racing has a finger in the pie at several chains in the USA.

Established teams interests

Established racing teams are interested in three points. First, the money being distributed should be divided by eleven instead of ten. The newcomer will have to pay an entry fee of $200 million, which will then be fraternally shared among the other teams, but this is only a one-time payment and at most makes up for losses in the first two years due to the smaller share of the pie.

Alpine chief Laurent Rossi disagrees with this view. “If Andretti comes, interest in the United States will continue to increase. That means more revenue from this region, which will ultimately benefit us all. We see the project positively.”

The fact that the breadbasket is a bit higher with the 11th team, because two drivers are vying for points, is an issue that worries the teams at the bottom of the table in particular. The more you slide in the World Cup standings, the lower your payout share. The big teams face a very different dilemma. They fear losing many of their employees who no longer see any opportunities for advancement in their teams or who can make more money with the newcomer.

The budget cap added pressure on the teams, which still operate with 800 employees. There are many in the second row with an annual income of about 100,000 euros, and you can hardly make more money because otherwise you will be over the cost limit. “It’s hard to keep these people when a new player comes in,” the captain tells us. Mercedes and Red Bull have already felt this and lost some valuable engineers to competitors who still have room for improvement in terms of personnel.

Michael Andretti - GP Miami 2022


Michael Andretti also met in Miami with FIA President Mohamed Ben Sulayem.

Haas mixture among other bases

Apparently, money does not play a role in Andretti’s project. US investors are willing to pay start-up fees, saving start-up costs and budget for the first five years. But do applicants have a plan? After all, it has now been agreed that the base should be in the United States, but the technology will be in England. Because this is where the specialists and suppliers are.

Andretti allegedly has already signed initial contracts with some engineers that he later wants to include in his team. The team should primarily consist of experienced Formula 1 staff to keep the risks as small as possible.

Andretti is also planning ahead with a team in Formula 3 and Formula 2. This would enable him to find talent for his project and give young American drivers the opportunity to gain a foothold in European motorsport. Colton Herta has been appointed as the driver.

It amounts to a similar mixture as does Haas. Michael Andretti does not hide who he wants to make a deal with. The 59-year-old American was sitting with his financiers and partners every day in the Alpine Pavilion and consulting for hours with Renault CEO Luca de Meo, Alpine President Laurent Rossi and team principal Otmar Szafnauer. Alpine sees this as an opportunity for an alliance like Ferrari and Haas. For mutual benefit. Just that Andretti will be a second team to use the Renault engine would be helpful.

When starting out on a blank sheet of paper, Andretti could embrace the Haas principle, but not the specifics. The rules have changed in some crucial respects. At the time, Haas was still taking advantage of the fact that Ferrari supplied its 2015 starters with a model from the previous year as illustration material. So the engineers had a standard when designing the 2016 car.

Nor were they limited in their time and money. “At the time, we were still allowed unlimited use of the wind tunnel in the start-up phase, and there was no budget cap either. Anyone participating now must comply with the rules that apply to everyone in the wind tunnel, CFD and budget,” Haas explains. Team Leader Guenther Steiner.

In the gallery we show you which racing series Andretti is already involved.