Motorsport titan Andretti Autosport bids to join F1 grid in 2024

Michael Andretti's team seek to join Formula One

Arthur Ferridge
13th March 2022
Image: @ForbesSport via Twitter
Michael Andretti, son of 1978 Formula One world champion Mario Andretti, has applied to enter Formula One in 2024 with Andretti Global.

Andretti, who drove for McLaren F1 in 1993, already manages the extremely successful Andretti Autosport IndyCar team, who boast 5 Driver’s Championships and 6 Indianapolis 500 victories.

They presently employ a cast of star drivers, including names such as F1 podium sitter Romain Grosjean and six-time IndyCar race winner Colton Herta.

The team has unparalleled racing pedigree, currently competing in Formula E, Indy Lights, Extreme E and Australia’s Supercars Championship. They have also tried their hands at ALMS endurance racing, American Rallycross, and other Formula One feeder series such as CART, Star Mazda Championship, and Formula Regional Americas.

In a tweet posted on February 18, Mario Andretti confirmed the team’s application, writing that “[Michael’s entry], Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA’s determination.”

Despite the Indiana based team’s confidence, they have been met with skepticism from the greater F1 community. The addition of a new team would require approval from all current Formula One teams, some of whom may be difficult to sway.

An extra team on the grid would result in smaller cuts of end-of-season prize money for the other teams, a rather unappealing prospect given the astronomic expenses of developing and racing a competitive car.

In an interview with Autoweek.com, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that “Andretti’s a name, that’s for sure, but… it needs to demonstrate… what it can do for the other teams, F1, and the FIA. Only then the sport will grow.”

Wolff is not alone in his skepticism, with Red Bull’s Christian Horner sharing similar views.

As well as the backlash, Andretti has received support from some Formula One heavyweights.

A team based in the United States promises to bring in a multitude of new Formula 1 fans who will be thirsting for American success as Haas continue to disappoint. North America is already one of the fastest growing F1 fanbases in the world, with 2021’s United States Grand Prix in Austin boasting the largest crowd of the season, with a reported 400,000 fans attending throughout the weekend.

It is for this reason that Andreas Seidl, McLaren F1 principal, would welcome the new entrant.

“The Andretti name… would help to grow the sport further in the US and open up simply more possibilities again to get young drivers in,” he told Autoweek.com. “The more teams we have… would help drive up the franchise value higher for us teams, so [I would be] absolutely open for it.”

Many fans share this sentiment, with many feeder series fans excited to see more opportunities for talented young drivers to enter the sport.

The 2022 Formula One season commenced last week with a three-day test session at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and will test again at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of a season opener at the same track in March.

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