Michael Andretti backtracks on ‘greed’ accusation ahead of 11th team decision

Michelle Foster
Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the grid with Michael Andretti.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem talks to Michael Andretti.

Michael Andretti has confirmed he’s tried to buy one of the existing Formula 1 teams, but that “nobody’s selling”.

As Formula 1’s current teams band together to block an 11th team from joining the grid, Andretti’s plans to become the sport could be over almost before they’ve began.

From the likes of Mercedes to Red Bull, two teams who seldom agree on anything, the teams believe the sport would be diluted by adding an 11th team – even if that team carries the name Andretti.

Andretti: Nobody’s interested, nobody’s selling

As such the American has even tried to buy one of the existing teams but with no luck.

“We’ve tried — nobody’s interested, nobody’s selling,” Andretti said as per Racer at the recent Extreme E Island X Prix in Sardinia. “I mean, we’ve been to every single team. They keep saying, ‘Well, buy a team’ (but) nobody wants to sell.

“You go there and they’re not even interested in talking. So yeah, I’ve been there, done that — not happening.”

According to Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali, Andretti is not the only person who has tried to buy one of the existing 10 teams and fallen short in their quest.

Speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast last month, the former Ferrari team boss said: “I would say two years ago, when the new Concorde Agreement has been signed, when there was the talk about ‘what is the value of a team that has to come in Formula 1’.

“There was a number put on the Concorde Agreement, that was [$]200 million, which seemed unreachable, because there were teams in the past that were sold by £1.

“Now, the market is offering almost billions to teams, and they are refusing that. Can you imagine that?”

But given that Andretti tried to buy the Sauber team only to fall out of that race, Audi instead taking over, it has been suggested the teams are opposed to the Andretti name itself given its global appeal could entice their sponsors.

“I don’t really pay attention to that,” Andretti said. “Everybody has their own reasons why they’re doing things. They’re trying to protect their own interests, which you can’t blame them.

“You know, I said things before, I probably used the wrong word — I shouldn’t have said ‘greed’ but everybody’s been looking out for themselves.

“When I said that, I got criticised because I said ‘greed’, but if I was in their situation, I’d probably do the same thing. So I don’t blame the teams. They all are going to look at it for themselves, because that’s what they need to do to be competitive.

“So they’ve got to make sure that they protect that and I understand that’s what they’re trying to do.

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“But in the end, they’re not going to be the ones that make the decision. It’s going to be up to the series and the FIA to decide if it’s the right individual.”

With that in mind Andretti is hoping for a “positive decision” in the coming weeks.

“I feel good. I mean, I we checked every box,” he added. “I feel good, but you know, feeling good and reality are always two different things.

“We just have to wait and see what happens. I think we have everything we need to go in and be competitive and be respectful and add to the series. That’s what we feel.”

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