It’s far from a done deal, but Michael Andretti sounds surprisingly positive about his attempt to build a Formula 1 team, along with Cadillac and General Motors.
“Right now we’re in the hands of the FIA,” F1’s sanctioning body, “waiting on the ‘Expression of Interest’ to come out. And we’re ready to go. We’re hearing it could happen in the next couple of weeks.” The new Expression of Interest process, which was revealed earlier this January, evaluates the possibility of adding a new F1 team to the 20-car grid.
“If it happens, 2025 is our goal. It’s too late for 2024. But we’re still working flat out on it. We’ve got a bunch of people hired already. We’re building a team.” Andretti said in an interview with Hagerty.com. We met with the motorsport magnate in Daytona’s media center during Sunday’s Rolex 24 qualifying—a race that Andretti will participate in as partner to Wayne Taylor Racing. For the F1 potential campaign, American IndyCar driver Colton Herta is “still at the top of our list” as one of the two drivers.
While the FIA seems interested in the Andretti-Cadillac effort, the teams currently in Formula 1 have generally been unsupportive. Is he disappointed in their reaction?
“I don’t know if ‘disappointed’ is the word,” he said, apparently softening his stance. “I said some things I shouldn’t have. I should have said that every team is going to look out for themselves, that’s just the way it is, especially as big as Formula 1 is. My point was the series—FIA and F1—look at it a different way than the teams do. They are the ones who have to look out for the future of the sport, where the teams have to look out for the future of the teams.
“I think I used the word ‘greed,'” as he described the teams’ negative reaction towards his initiative, “which was the wrong word. I should have said ‘self-interest.’ If I was in their position I’d probably be doing the same thing.”
Andretti has examined the easy way to get into Formula 1—buy an existing team—“but there aren’t any teams interested in selling,” he says. “We’re actually really excited about the plan. If our plans come through, it’s going to far better than if we just bought a team.”
Andretti will still have to shell out some green. A $200M entry fee awaits the new team should they make it past the evaluation process—like we said, it’s far from a done deal.
$200 million “entry fee”? Lunacy . . .
I don’t understand the lure of F(ollow the leader)1.
Herta will bomb in F1. He has hardly lived up to the hype in IndyCar. Too many mistakes. Just a flash in the pan.
Las Vegas Knights start up fee was $500 mil. $200 is a bargin for teams with a $1+ bil valuation. Things really took off after Netflix “Drive to Survive”. USA now has 3 GPs where in the past they could barely hold on to one. The other teams will want more the $200 mil now.