Andretti would ‘jump at a proper F1 opportunity’

Jon Wilde
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.

Andretti Autosport have given an update on their desire to enter Formula 1, saying an opportunity has not yet “fallen in our laps”.

It was reported in August that Michael Andretti, son of Mario, the 1978 F1 World Champion, had declared an active interest in acquiring an existing team.

The 58-year-old is among the leading team owners in American motorsport across a variety of series Stateside and which also includes Formula E and Extreme E.

With five IndyCar titles and six Indy 500 victories, the next step for Andretti Autosport could be to branch out into Formula 1 – and that has been confirmed as a possibility but without anything too prospective being on the table as yet.

The team with which the most substantive link was being made was Sauber, who are currently racing as Alfa Romeo and have been owned by Longbow Finance SA since 2016.

But Andretti Autosport have insisted nothing is imminent, while reaffirming their interest in F1.

“Entering Formula 1 has been of interest to Michael and the team for some time and we’ve explored many options over the years, but at this time we have nothing new to report,” an Andretti Autosport spokesperson told The Race.

“Our passion is racing, in all forms, and we never say never.

“Should a proper opportunity come along to take the Andretti name back to F1, we’d jump at it.

“But as of now, that opportunity has not fallen in our laps and our focus remains on our seven disciplines of competition.”

Colton Herta in IndyCar action for Andretti Autosport at RoadAmerica. Wisconsin June 2021.
Colton Herta in action for Andretti Autosport during the IndyCar race at RoadAmerica. Wisconsin June 2021.

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Andretti failed to make anything like as much of a success of his time as an F1 driver as his father. He had a brief spell racing for McLaren but did not see out his first season in 1993, heading back to America straight after his only podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

He now has an ongoing partnership with United Autosports, which is co-owned by Zak Brown, the McLaren Racing CEO.

However, Brown said recently that any initiative from Andretti would be fully independent from McLaren.

“We are very focused on McLaren Formula 1,” said Brown.

“Michael and I are great friends, so my door is always open to have a conversation.

“But we don’t have any interest in focusing on anything in F1 other than on ourselves.”