Formula 1 pundit Peter Windsor says rejecting Andretti’s bid is “one of the worst things Formula 1 has done in a long time”, with the justification regarding their value to the series “absolutely crass”.
The union of Andretti Autosport and General Motors brand Cadillac has been pushing to join Formula 1 as an eleventh team, with north of 100 people reportedly already working on the project, headed by Nick Chester who played a prominent role in the Fernando Alonso-Renault 2005 and 2006 title doubles.
Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, is firmly behind the Andretti-Cadillac bid, but F1 recently confirmed that it was not by rejecting the American outfit.
Formula 1 Andretti-Cadillac brutal value verdict ‘absolutely crass’
In the statement issued by F1, one of the rejection reasons which drew serious attention was the claim that “while the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”
And this, in the opinion of former Ferrari and Williams team manager Windsor, is an “insulting” and “absolutely crass” thing to say, considering the prospective team’s association to 1978 World Champion, Michael’s father Mario Andretti.
“I’m absolutely appalled I think is the word at the way Formula 1 has rejected Michael Andretti,” said Windsor in his YouTube livestream.
“And let’s say the Andretti thing, because Mario was for sure 100 per cent behind all that and wanted to be involved, have his name obviously on that team.
“And I think the fact that they’ve rejected it is ridiculous, and beyond that, I think the reasons they’ve given are insulting and that one about, ‘We think Andretti would have benefitted more from the Formula 1 association than vice versa’, I mean, that is absolutely crass.
“And the prelude to that was saying, ‘Oh well the survey we did’, what survey? What people did they ask? And if they asked people who said: ‘Oh no, Andretti’s not important in the world of motorsport, he wouldn’t add anything to Formula 1’, you’re asking the wrong people or you’re asking the wrong questions.
“Because Mario Andretti, with Michael, and you’ve got to say, Michael has achieved a massive amount as a team owner, but Mario is the case study of the greatest racing driver of all-time in many ways, I mean the versatility of this guy, and his commitment to Formula 1 when he was in Formula 1, and what he did for Formula 1 as an American, I think it is just unconscionable that it’s been rejected.”
In Windsor’s opinion, the rejection comes down to money and existing teams not wanting to lose out by an additional player getting in on revenue distribution.
There is a $200million anti-dilution fee payable for new teams to be split among the current 10 outfits, but Windsor said Formula 1 should have been slipping those teams some extra cash and convincing them of how Andretti can grow the financial pot going forward.
Instead, what they have done he claims is “one of the worst things Formula 1 has done in a long time.”
“I have sort of set it up and hopefully prepared everybody for the shock of Andretti not being accepted by saying time and again, the real problem is going to be current team owners who don’t want to have a smaller size of the financial cake,” Windsor continued.
“But I’ve said, the way to solve that is to give everybody a bit of a bonus and to sell them on how good the Andretti name would be for Formula 1 and get on with it. There’s too much of the tail wagging the dog there I think. It’s just one of the worst things Formula 1 has done in a long time.”
Formula 1 has left the door ajar for Andretti-Cadillac far down the road in 2028 via GM backing to make them either a factory entry or a customer team. GM had stated its intention to become an F1 power unit manufacturer from 2028.