IndyCar driver Graham Rahal has slated Formula 1’s “elitist” decision after the sport rejected Michael Andretti’s bid to become the 11th team on the grid.
Although Andretti was given the go-ahead by the FIA after a vigorous process, the American team the only applicant to get the nod, they still needed F1’s approval.
However, Formula One Management announced on Wednesday they’d rejected the application as they felt Andretti didn’t bring enough to the table to make it worthwhile for F1.
F1 accused of only chasing American money, ‘they don’t care about the rest’
“The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive, in particular by competing for podiums and race wins,” said the statement.
But, F1 added, they don’t feel Andretti could do that given F1 “represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that [Andretti] has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed, and it proposes to do so with a dependency on a compulsory PU supply in the initial years of its participation.
“On this basis, we do not believe that [Andretti] would be a competitive participant.”
The door, though, was left open for Andretti to reapply for the 2028 season when their partner General Motors designs and builds its own Formula 1 engine having already signed up with the FIA to be an engine supplier.
The decision has divided the motorsport world as while former Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says F1 did it to “protect” the existing teams and “Andretti themselves”, American racer Rahal slammed the sport’s “elitist” attitude.
Back in 2022 when F1 initially opposed Andretti’s arrival, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver wrote on X: “F1 is an elitist sport. They don’t want us. Remember that.
“They want US companies’ money, they want wealthy US individuals’ money. But they don’t care about the rest. Always has been that way, always will be.”
It’s an opinion he feels today Formula 1 proved.
Responding to his own post, he wrote: “Oh wait. Another thing I said and got tremendous hate for it. You guys seeing it yet? Is it making sense yet? ”
Former GP2 driver and one-time Force India test driver, Conor Daly also hit out at the decision to reject Andretti.
“One of the top five dumbest statements I’ve ever read,” he said.