Mario Andretti raised eyebrows on Friday when the American took to social media to announce that Michael, his son, has applied to be part of the Formula 1 grid from the 2024 season.
Andretti revealed that Michael is working through the various hurdles of getting to F1, with the US racing giants Andretti Global revealing that they already have a “good arrangement” with an engine supplier for their programme.
It is not known who the engine supplier is and the announcement is yet to be made officially, however Andretti revealed that all the building blocks are in place for a 2024 start.
The American also confirmed that the US outfit would be based in the UK, with Andretti setting up shop in England – the de facto capital of Formula 1, with seven of the ten teams based there.
There are plans to have a manufacturing facility based in the US with the car chassis’ being developed in Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Speedway.
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
“From where I stand, I’m excited about it, as you can imagine,” Andretti told RacingNews365.
“No one loves Formula 1 more than I do, and just to have the family involved, in this respect, with Michael [going] all in – his plans are to field a Formula 2 and a Formula 3 team eventually, out of all of it.
“He will be based in England; it’s all set up, but I can’t tell you at the moment, I cannot finalise all of those aspects.
“He has a good arrangement for an engine supplier already, so all of that would come once this could be announced, officially; all of these things will be told.
“He’s further along [in the process] than a lot of people think, and time is of the essence, as you can imagine.
“A lot of people on Twitter say, ‘You’re joking. You’re dreaming’. No, we’re not dreaming, we’re not joking – this is serious. It’s been going on and it didn’t just happen.”
Andretti did attempt to join the F1 grid last year when he tried to take over Alfa Romeo, however the deal fell short at the final hurdle.
The new $140m budget cap has made F1 attractive to prospective entrants, but a $200m fee is required for any new teams joining the grid.
Building a team from the ground up requires huge amounts of resources, and the American hasn’t ruled out taking over an existing team.
“If an opportunity would come along to buy an existing team, that could still be in play,” Andretti continued.
“[Michael] would love that actually. That would be the preference, to buy an existing infrastructure and build on that. But he tried and tried.
“He doesn’t want to waste too much time. Most people say, ‘Well, no teams are available, so just wait’. He doesn’t want to wait.”
The Andretti operation would be the first new team to join the grid since 2016 when US-based Haas entered F1.
When asked about a timeline for the next steps, the 81-year-old was coy on giving specifics, but stressed that everything is in place for 2024.
“We’re realistic; we weren’t born yesterday, and you know what you’re up against,” said the American.
“But at the same time, financially, if we have good support and solid support, then a lot of things can happen.
“How do you make things happen? Surround yourself with the right people.
“Quite a few things are already in place. [There are] people with experience, people that have been there, done it, so that’s the formula.”
“They’re [the FIA] are not giving a timeframe. All they’re saying is that they’re working on it, and we have to accept that.
“I think they’re working in good faith – I’m positive of that as well. We’re very anxious, of course, and then in due time, they will tell them.
“I just hope that it’s all positive news, that’s all I can say. I’ll hope and pray for that.”
Andretti still wants a spot on the F1 grid
Mario Andretti reveals that his son, Michael, is not giving up on his dream of owning a F1 team.