Andretti Global ‘ready to go’, Indy base planned

Ben Johnston
Michael Andretti gives thumbs-up during Indy500 practice. Indianapolis May 2021.

Michael Andretti gives a thumbs-up sign during practice for the Indy500. Indianapolis May 2021.

IndyCar legend Mario Andretti says that his son, Michael, plans to have his Formula 1 team based in Indianapolis should his plan to enter the sport in 2024 be approved by the FIA.

Mario Andretti, the 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula 1 World Champion revealed on Twitter last week that Michael Andretti, who owns Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar Series has applied to enter Formula 1 in 2024.

“Michael has been working on this for quite a long time, but he’s taken a different direction since there’s no teams available to buy,” Mario is quoted as telling the IndyStar.

“They’re far enough along that, if they get the approval to be added to the 10 teams that exist in F1, they’re ready to go the next day and put everything in place. This didn’t just happen.”

Andretti confirmed that the plan is that the Formula 1 team would be based in Indianapolis where the IndyCar team is, but the F1 operation would be completely separate.

He added: “They’ve been working hard to secure personnel. Some individuals are standing by that have been part of start-ups (in the past), and the (Indianapolis) building would be separate (from the IndyCar headquarters), but everything would ultimately all be under one big roof – together, but separate.”

It is believed that if the Formula 1 project takes off, Colton Herta is in the driving seat for one of the two spots in the Andretti Formula 1 team.

The most recent Concorde Agreement, that was signed by the Formula 1 teams in 2020, says that any new team which enters the sport would need to pay a fee of $200 million; however, Mario Andretti told the IndyStar that this is not a problem for Michael.

He said: “They’re all set. They checked all those boxes, all of those things that are part of it. They’re going in with their eyes wide-open with all the prerequisites.”

Michael Andretti came close to purchasing Alfa Romeo last year, but the deal collapsed with Andretti telling reporters in November that “it became a deal we had to step away from. In the end, it wasn’t right for us.

“I’d like to put an end to some of these rumors that the deal fell through because of financial reasons. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It had nothing to do with that.

“I’ve always said that, if the deal’s not right, we’re not going to do it, and the deal wasn’t right, so we’ll continue to look for other opportunities.”

As it stands, Colton Herta is not eligible for an FIA Super Licence which is needed to compete in Formula 1.

He would need to finish at least third in this year’s IndyCar Championship in order to get him to the forty points necessary to enter Formula 1.

Mario Andretti went on to say that the FIA are working on the application.

“All I know is they say they’re working on it. That’s all they’re telling him it seems,” he revealed.

“Everything they’ve asked for, he can do, so he’s ready to listen. The ball’s in their court at the moment.

“For me, I’m over the moon at this possibility. There’s no secret how much F1 and motor racing has meant to our family. We’d be active everywhere.

“You’ve got to be ambitious, and Michael hasn’t held back very much, as you can see.

“This is Michael’s business, period, and it’s going to be that way until the end of his professional life. We live and breath motorsports. That’s what we do.”