‘If they want blood, I’m ready’ – Mario Andretti ‘offended’ by F1 rejection

Henry Valantine
1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti.

Mario Andretti has been 'offended' by Formula 1's rejection of the Andretti Global bid.

Mario Andretti has said he was “offended” by Formula 1’s rejection of son Michael’s proposed Andretti Global entry to the sport from 2026.

Having passed the FIA’s Expressions of Interest process, Andretti were rejected by Formula One Management out of hand as their quest for a place met an abrupt end.

Mario Andretti ‘offended’ by F1 team rejection

Andretti explained that the team would be willing to do anything in order to make it onto the grid, with their work having continued “at pace” to prepare for a place in Formula 1, despite their rejection for a place in the sport.

When reminded of the rejection of the bid, the motorsport legend explained he is unsure why there is anything standing in the way of an additional team.

“I was offended, actually. I don’t think we deserved that, to be honest with you,” Andretti said, as per AP News.

“It’s a big investment in the series, and you’d think they’d welcome that. Even the value of the series is more valuable with 11 teams than 10, so I don’t know. Tell us what is really wrong.”

When it was put to him that Formula 1 would be willing to welcome General Motors to the sport if they partnered an existing team that was not Andretti, the 1978 World Champion took umbrage at that – given the team were the ones to entice them into a bid through Cadillac initially.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

Andretti issue huge update on Formula 1 push as ‘key meeting’ looms

“That’s another offensive statement there,” he said. “We’re the ones that worked it out, and GM said it over and over, ‘Andretti or nothing,’ and then (F1) still tried to take it.”

He added, gesturing to slice a vein in a show of commitment to Formula 1: “There’s an undercurrent there that I don’t understand, quite honestly, but if they want blood, well, I’m ready.”

Having hinted that a meeting with FOM is upcoming over the proposed entry, Andretti explained that there has not been enough communication between the two parties overall about how the team can best satisfy their criteria.

While he believes the motivation behind keeping them out of the sport is mostly financial, he explained the opening of the team’s new Silverstone base is another sure sign of their commitment to making it onto the grid.

“We only had one meeting with them. That’s a problem. We haven’t had enough. I think that’s why I really welcome our next meeting. You know, let’s sit down,” Andretti said.

“There were some opportunities missed along the way, but we’ve got to look forward, not back. I’m remaining hopeful because we never stop working towards this.

“It was made clear that our work is at pace, and as you can see we’re not just talking. We’re putting brick and mortar together. We’ve shown that with the team that already has a place in Silverstone.

“We’re trying to say ‘We’ll do whatever you ask of us. We’ll do whatever is there. Now, if you think of something, you tell us.’

“But they haven’t told us yet except for some excuses like, ‘Oh we don’t want you coming on, we don’t want you to be embarrassed.’ But we don’t want to embarrass ourselves, and the fact is General Motors has made it so clear that they’re excited about this project. They have a long-term commitment there, and I don’t know what else we can do.

“The rules say that 11 or 12 teams is legal. We’re all-in, and I don’t know what else to do. I still don’t know what the reasons are because let’s be reasonable. We’re all racers. We all are professionals. We’re trying to advance the cause for all of us.

“I’ve never been disrespected as a person face-to-face, but it’s been at a distance, and I don’t think we deserve that.”

Read next: F1 starting grid: What is the grid order for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix?