Michael Andretti and his father, Mario, have not been silent about their ambitions to enter Formula 1 as a new team as soon as possible. Andretti’s effort hit headwinds from the start among the current batch of teams on the grid.
Unveiled when Mario Andretti tweeted about the effort in February 2022, the immediate reaction from American fans was electric. This was a genuine American F1 team run by one of the great racing families. It seemed like a no-brainer for the F1 community to embrace. Instead, the reception was lukewarm. F1 barely acknowledged the announcement, teams spoke out against it and Michael appeared at the Miami Grand Prix looking for team bosses to sign a petition to show their support.
Most declined. The reasons varied, with some saying the Andretti name was fine, but they weren’t bringing in a new manufacturer that F1 would really embrace. Now, Andretti has the backing of General Motors and Cadillac, which are pretty amazing backers. Current teams are still unimpressed, and the real reason is that it will dilute their hold on the prize pool, something Andretti said amounts to “greed.”
Now, F1 has opened up the application process for new teams, as CEO Stefano Domenicali has said Runner that his recommendation is for Andretti to take a more sober approach:
I think we have to respect everyone. There are teams like Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti who speak very openly about their willingness to enter Formula 1 – in my opinion (it’s not) smart to say that teams are eager to protect themselves, but that’s my opinion. But there are others much less explicit who would like to enter Formula 1.
The thing is, Michael and Mario are not wrong. The teams are concerned about the dilution of their share, which has become more valuable as F1 has expanded into key markets such as the US. They want to keep the profits. This is the definition of greedy. Andretti said his pledge is ready to pay the gigantic nine-figure anti-dilution tax for a new team. And it seems short-sighted to publicly dismiss a backed effort by one of the world’s biggest automakers, but to embrace Ford by giving Red Bull money to put its name on new power units.
The truth can hurt, Stefano. Hopefully, if and when new teams are admitted to the league, the Andrettis will be first on that list.
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