Fresh call issued for Andretti F1 arrival following mighty Oliver Bearman debut

Jamie Woodhouse
Andretti logo and Michael Andretti.

F1 has rejected the possibility of Andretti making the grid over the next couple of years.

Formula 1 correspondent Matt Bishop has called for the grid to expand, as Andretti were trying to make happen, to give prospects like Oliver Bearman a chance.

Andretti’s push to join the Formula 1 grid, in association with American brand Cadillac, proved a major talking point throughout much of the 2023 season and into the new year, though their efforts have taken a huge hit.

F1 grid expansion needed for likes of Oliver Bearman?

While the FIA is firmly behind the Andretti-Cadillac F1 vision, the series confirmed that it is not by rejecting their bid ahead of the F1 2024 campaign.

Finances played a key role in that, more specifically the fact that another player would get a cut of the prize money distribution, though some F1 team figures, such as Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner, raised infrastructure concerns too. Bishop though took a trip down memory lane to challenge that.

After suggestions that some circuits would struggle to accommodate an 11th team, Bishop, writing for Motorsport Magazine, looked back to the 2010 campaign, a time where he claims F1 “on-track action was not so relentlessly predictable”, to point out that 24 cars were on the grid for that year’s Bahrain season-opener, which remained the case thereafter.

He thus asks that Michael and Mario Andretti, as well as Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali “take note”, especially after the highly-impressive F1 debut of Oliver Bearman for Ferrari in Saudi Arabia, the 18-year-old Brit racing to a P7 finish in place of the ill Carlos Sainz.

Assuming Sainz is fully recovered from his successful appendicitis surgery and back in the Ferrari for Melbourne, it means Bearman’s F1 appearances for the rest of the season are set to be limited to FP1 outings with customer team Haas, a situation which Bishop stresses new entrants like Andretti could address.

‘The 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix grid consisted of 24 cars. There was garage space to accommodate all 12 teams. Michael and Mario Andretti (and Stefano Domenicali, too), please take note,’ Bishop wrote.

‘After all, if there were 12 (or even 11) teams on the grid now (or even soon), Ollie Bearman would surely be given an opportunity to become an F1 star. Three days ago he proved he deserves one.

‘As things stand, a little bit of free practice for Haas looks like being the apogee of his feasible imminent ambition.’

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Looking beyond this year to the F1 2025 campaign, Bearman has been talked about as a strong contender for a Haas drive after his Saudi Arabian GP heroics, Bearman confirming that he looks forward to “building up a relationship” with Haas ahead of a potential race seat opening.

Asked by reporters in Saudi Arabia what more he can do to make his F1 position permanent, Bearman replied: “I don’t know what else I can do, because I don’t think I’ll be in F1 for the rest of the year.

“I think I did a decent job and that’s all I can do, push in F2 and cross my fingers.

“I have a lot of FPs with Haas this year, so I’m looking forward to building up a relationship and gaining more miles in the car.”

Bearman has already made two FP1 appearances with Haas at the 2023 Mexican and Abu Dhabi GPs.

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