Following growing frustration about his team’s entry into Formula 1, Mario Andretti has admitted he does not know how the sport could turn them down.
The Andretti’s bid to become the 11th team on the F1 grid has been a long and, as of yet, unsuccessful one. Mario Andretti took to Twitter in February to announce that his son, Michael, had filed the necessary paperwork with the FIA to become the newest team – but six months on and there is still no word on if that will become a reality.
While both the FIA and F1 have been dragging their heels, the teams themselves have poured cold water on the expansion that would see a new constructor added to the sport for the first time since 2016.
F1’s popularity has exploded in recent years and, as expected, many companies are now trying to get onto the gravy train.
Volkswagen’s Porsche and Audi are preparing for a proposed 2026 entry but some of the existing teams have argued against the likes of Andretti joining.
Toto Wolff in particular has been vocal in his doubtfulness of the Andretti brand joining the sport, arguing that given the current 10 teams will see a reduction of their prize money, the proposed 11th team would have to prove they can bring in more than they take.
That is something that Andretti believe they can do and Mario Andretti has confessed he can not see how the sport could say no considering the proposal they submitted.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) August 12, 2022
This week, Andretti Global unveiled plans to build a 575,000 square-foot facility in Indiana which they say will house their current teams and any “future racing initiatives” they take on but despite the $2000m [£170m] project, a Formula 1 team is not a guarantee.
“We’re on it. That’s all I can tell you, we’re on it every day,” Mario Andretti told IndyStar. “Nothing has stopped. The project continues, everything continues as if we’ve been given the go-ahead. I don’t know how they could turn us down at the end of the day with the commitment we have before them for god’s sakes.”
Such is the desperation to join the sport, Michael Andretti was seen roaming the paddock during the Miami Grand Prix weekend, trying to convince the current teams that their proposal is a good thing. It seems for now, those pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Andretti Global are finding friends few and far between in F1
With the sport’s popularity booming in the States, the Andretti family may have thought they would have been welcomed with open arms by the current F1 teams considering the sizeable audience they command in the country yet the reaction has been anything but.
In March, Michael Andretti said he was surprised by the “frosty” reception they have received and it seems tempers are beginning to flare in the family as Mario Andretti hit out at Wolff on Twitter by responding to a tweet that said the Mercedes man was “too powerful for F1.”
Earlier this month, Alfa boss Fred Vasseur became the latest disapproving voice and it seems Andretti Global has just one friend in the paddock, McLaren.
McLaren, led through fellow American Zak Brown, have been very supportive in getting Andretti into the sport but if it goes to a vote, then one vote in 10 is not going to cut it.
It is difficult to see where the Andretti family go from here. They have done as much as they can to secure the bid by promising hundreds of millions of investment, selling themselves as an American team and tried to cosy up to the sport’s decision-makers but still no joy.
They themselves have said the deadline is approaching for a 2024 entry but as things stand, it seems that remains a long way off.