Fresh twist in Andretti saga as Lewis Hamilton performs quick U-turn

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton speaks to the press during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton speaks to the press.

Having previously stated that “some people won’t be happy” with his stance on an 11th team, Lewis Hamilton says he’s not specifically supporting Andretti-Cadillac but rather the idea of an 11th team.

On Monday the FIA revealed that Andretti-Cadillac had passed the first test to become Formula 1’s 11th team with the American outfit, headed by Michael Andretti, meeting all the sporting and financial criteria set out by motorsport’s governing body.

That, though, is just the beginning of Andretti’s road to Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton weighs in on Andretti’s FIA approval

The American outfit now has to get the approval of Formula One Management and agree a deal with them before, if ever, they line up on the grid.

And unfortunately for Andretti, the voices of opposition continue to gather with Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur and Williams’ James Vowles once again saying no when asked if the grid needs to be increased from 10 to 11 teams.

But in the midst of it all, it seemed as if Andretti had the support of seven-time World Champion Hamilton, who said on Thursday that “there will definitely be people that won’t be happy for me to be so supportive of it” as he thinks it’s “great”.

The Mercedes driver has since clarified his comments saying while he supports increasing the grid, that is not necessarily a vote for Andretti.

“I mean, firstly, it wasn’t that I support Andretti,” he told the media in Qatar.

Instead, he explained: “I think from a driver’s perspective, it’s exciting to potentially see more cars. And then the idea of an 11th team… You know, we have over 2,000 people in our team. So, that’s a huge amount of jobs.

“But we have to make sure that the criteria, which is quite strict, is really respected. And I feel like we need to amend the criteria actually, and make sure that there’s an opportunity for real impact, really making sure that if there is a new team, they have to be diverse.

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“They have to perhaps create an opportunity for a female driver to come through, and it has to be diverse from the top.

“At the moment, it’s all white owners and there’s a real lack of diversity from the top down. It’s all male, and that needs to change. So yeah, that was just my thought.

“But I really do have 100% faith in Stefano [Domenicali], who I’ve known for a long, long time. I think what he’s doing at the top, there’s no-one that could do a better job than him. And I know that he will make the right decision.

“Moving forward, he’s a racer, and he’s passionate about the growth of the sport, so happy to leave it in his capable hands.”

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