Juan Pablo Montoya casts doubt on Andretti-Cadillac bid being successful

Thomas Maher
Juan Pablo Montoya pictured with son, Sebastien Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya pictured with son, Sebastien Montoya

Colombian racing legend Juan Pablo Montoya believes Andretti won’t be successful in their bid to enter Formula 1 as an entirely new outfit.

Andretti Global, headed up by Michael Andretti, are clamouring to enter Formula 1 in the coming years, having partnered up with Cadillac to add further weight to their attempts to get the nod.

The American racing team have started work on a large new motorsport campus to encapsulate all their racing activities, with ample capacity to take in a Formula 1 effort if their attempts are successful.

But Andretti have struggled to win over the approval of the teams already on the grid, who have no desire to see their potential prize pots diluted by an 11th team on the grid, even despite them getting an initial equal split of the $200 million entry Andretti would have to pay.

Former McLaren and Williams F1 racer, and a legend of the American racing scene as a two-time Indy 500 winner, Juan Pablo Montoya is also not convinced that Andretti should be trying to enter F1 as a new entry – he believes Andretti should be doing their best to cosy up and purchase an existing team.

Juan Pablo Montoya ‘doesn’t see an extra team coming into F1’

“I would love to see them on the grid, but that’s not going to happen,” Montoya told the French subsidiary of Motorsport.com about Andretti-Cadillac’s prospects of entering the sport.

“Unless they can buy someone else out. I don’t see an extra team coming in. It’s a shame, but it’s difficult to convince everyone.”

Montoya believes Andretti should be trying to follow in the footsteps of Audi, with the German marque entering F1 in 2026 through a takeover of shares of the Sauber Group.

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“If they’re so determined to get into F1, they could probably buy a structure like Alpine,” Montoya remarked.

“Personally, if it’s about having an extra seat, I think it’s very unlikely. I believe it should be more like what Audi did. If you really want to be in F1 long-term, you could buy 30 or 40% of Alpine with a two-year option to buy another 40 or 20%, and then you would have control of the team – you have the majority and you do what you want. But the other way around, I don’t see it happening.”

Juan Pablo Montoya: Cadillac isn’t a big name outside the US

Montoya believes that Andretti’s partnership with Cadillac also doesn’t mean enough to markets external to the United States, saying the name simply isn’t important enough to F1’s traditional markets.

“You know how teams are. You know the game,” he said.

“Cadillac, yes, it’s a big name, but it’s a big name in America. [In the Netherlands] it’s not, in the UK it’s not, in France it’s not, and in Spain, it’s not.

“I think the name ‘Chevy’ is more important, but I understand why they’re using Cadillac, because they’re high-end vehicles. It’s a shame, but I think it’s going to be tough, unless they buy a team.”

Asked about whether the existing teams are able to wield too much influence on the possibility of new teams entering the sport, Montoya pointed to the examples of defunct entries such as Caterham, HRT, and Virgin – all of whom entered the sport in 2010 and were never competitive in the short few years until each met their demise.

“Years ago, [new teams arrived in F1], and it didn’t work,” he said.

“Because they didn’t have enough money. If they [Andretti and Cadillac] have so much money, why not just buy a team? Yes, the Andretti name is very important in America. But today, if you go to Europe, I don’t know: how many people really know Andretti?”