F1 | Team principals comment on the potential of Andretti entering Formula 1
With Andretti in talks to join Formula 1, the current team principals in the sport discuss their potential new US powerhouse rival and what such a prestigious name could add to the sport
Earlier this month Mario Andretti announced on twitter that his son Michael Andretti had applied to the FIA to field a new team in Formula 1 under the Andretti Global banner from 2024. Andretti is a highly successful and popular, multi-discipline US based motorsport team, known for their success in Indycar with six Indy 500 victories to their name.
With the FIA yet to inform Andretti of their decision, current Formula 1 team principals have discussed what a new entry could add to the sport.
Michael has applied to the FIA to field a new F1 team starting in 2024. His entry, Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA's determination.— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) February 18, 2022
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost stayed rather neutral on the topic, citing the decision was up to the FIA based on the teams’ potential.
“Now we have ten teams and I think ten really good teams. At the end it is a decision from the FIA and from Formula 1. If Michael [Andretti] wants to come with a new team and all the ingredients are coming together and all the teams also accept it, then yes, otherwise no.”
Team principal of sister team Red Bull, Christian Horner was more positive on the matter, citing it was good to see teams had an interest in joining the sport. However noting the caveat that Andretti would have to prove themselves.
“I think it’s great that there’s the interest of people wanting to enter Formula 1,” Horner stated. “The Andretti name is certainly a powerful name in motorsport and of course they’re not the only ones that are making noises about coming on.
“But there is a clear criteria through the concorde agreement that has to be met and approved. I’m sure they’re engaged in that process and that agreement is there to protect the ten incumbents and not to dilute that.”
Meanwhile, team principal at McLaren, Andreas Seidl was very positive about the potential of the Andretti entry.
“From us we would definitely welcome the Andretti team,” Seidl stated plainly. “Because of the Andretti name and a US team which would help grow the sport further in the US.
“I think it would also open up more possibilities to get young drivers in the more teams we have. In the end the earlier we get to twelve teams for example, which is the maximum we can have, I think it would just help to drive the franchise value even higher for us teams. Absolutely [we are] open to it and we would love to compete with them.”
CEO at McLaren Zac Brown also commented on the situation when talking to Motorsport.com and was critical of other those who questioned the potential of an Andretti team.
“I think Andretti as a name, as a highly credible racing team, and knowing who his backers are, and who he is, they will no doubt help us grow the sport in North America," Brown said.
“I think the teams that may not support another team are being short-sighted.
“Are we trying to grow the sport? Or are we doing what racing teams have a bad tendency to do, which is think about today and not the future."
One of those who were critical of the potential new entry was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, similarly to Horner, noting the team would have to prove their value to the sport.
“Andretti is a name, that’s for sure, and the American market is important. But every team that is joining needs to be creative. That means needs to add value and it’s not only by paying a 200 million dollar entry fee but it needs to demonstrate, in my opinion, what it can do for all the other teams, Formula 1 and thet FIA. Only then the sport will grow.
“We are the absolute pinnacle. We are the champions league, or the NFL and redistributing franchises on the go is not how it should be and it’s not the intention of Formula 1 or the FIA.
“If there is a real brand coming in with good people and the necessary funding, not only the 200 million, probably you need more like a billion to play in this club from the get-go.”
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi added he would welcome Andretti if they could add value to the sport, and cites the brand could have that potential.
“I welcome it if it’s a creative. I think Andretti could have that potential because of all of the US aspect of it. I think it would be nice to spice things up on the track as well. It’s better to move the hierarchy a little bit all the time.”