Michael Andretti hits out at F1’s ‘bunch of hillbillies’ perception

Michelle Foster
Michael Andretti in front of the FIA logo at the United States Grand Prix.

Michael Andretti in front of the FIA logo.

Stepping into Formula 1’s “political” minefield, Michael Andretti has blasted the Formula 1 teams for thinking his American outfit is a “bunch of hillbillies”.

Despite receiving the go-ahead from the FIA to enter Formula 1 as the 11th team on the grid, Andretti’s participation in the sport remains in limbo as Formula 1 is carrying out its own assessment.

But while F1 chief Stefano Domenicali’s team does so, the existing teams have continued to make their thoughts on Andretti’s potential arrival well-known.

Andretti: We’ll prove our weight to get in

It’s fair to say they aren’t in favour.

Arguments have notably centred around the financial implications of having a new team with the incumbents opposed to having to share the prize pot in what would be an 11-way split.

They’ve also argued that a new team would diminish the value of the existing franchises, even going as far as to cite their Covid struggles and how together they are reaping the rewards for surviving that difficult period.

Andretti is baffled by the strenuous opposition he’s received.

“We have got to realise what we’re getting into. We’re getting into a lot of politics and things like that. It’s just the way it is. And we’ll just deal with it,” the American told Bloomberg Originals.

“I didn’t think it would be this hard to get in. But we’ll prove our weight to get in.

“First of all, they think that we’re a bunch of hillbillies over here. And we don’t know what we’re doing.

“[But] because we have a lot of experience in racing, we might come at it from a different angle than everybody else, and it might work.”

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The American, who raced for McLaren in 1993, is adamant Andretti-Cadillac would bring additional investment to the grid, boosting the money offered in the prize pot.

“We feel that adding more cars, I think is only going to help the sport,” he explained.

“Yeah, it’s going to take a piece of the pie, prize money, and things, but we feel like we can bring more to it than what we’re going to take out of the pie.

“I think having a true American team: you have an American driver, you have a car that’s built here in the US, and you have an American engine built here.

“I mean, I think that’s going to create a ton of interest for the US.”

Stefano Domenicali issues update on Andretti

But while Andretti argues his cause, F1 chief Domenicali says the process from Formula 1’s side is still ongoing.

“This is a process that is in place,” he said as per Speedcafe. “As always, we don’t have to give any anticipation.

“The FIA did its right role of doing its first assessment and now we’re in the process of doing our assessment on the commercial, marketing side.

“As soon as this process will be finished, of course, we will inform everyone accordingly – first of all of course sharing this info in the first instance with the FIA.”

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