Andretti confirms interest in F1 team takeover

Jon Wilde
Michael Andretti gives thumbs-up during Indy500 practice. Indianapolis May 2021.

Michael Andretti gives a thumbs-up sign during practice for the Indy500. Indianapolis May 2021.

Michael Andretti has declared an active interest in acquiring a Formula 1 team, with more than one candidate on the potential shopping list.

Son of Mario Andretti, who was the 1978 F1 World Champion, the 58-year-old had a brief spell racing for McLaren but did not see out his first season in 1993, heading back to America straight after his only podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

He went on to resume a highly successful career in what is now IndyCar, although without adding to his 1991 drivers’ title, and has since become one of the leading team owners in a variety of series which also includes Formula E and Extreme E.

With five IndyCar titles and six Indy 500 victories, the next step for Andretti Autosport could be to branch out into Formula 1 – and the team owner has confirmed that is a possibility.

“It would be great, but there’s a long way to go if it were to happen,” Andretti told Racer. “If the right opportunity comes up, we’ll be all over it. But we are not there yet.”

The report from Racer links three teams with a potential takeover and not surprisingly, they are the trio at the bottom of the 2021 Constructors’ Championship.

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George Russell's Williams. Hungary August 2021.

With the fortunes of Gene Haas’ self-named team having nosedived since their entry into F1 five years ago, there have been rumours they could be sold – possibly to driver Nikita Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, who has become their chief sponsor.

But Racer say the conversation with Haas F1 has not moved “beyond a basic outreach”, which means Andretti has been “seeking another target in the F1 paddock”.

The report suggests it could be easier for Andretti to pursue one of the two constructors who are currently owned by investment companies, namely Williams and Alfa Romeo.

Williams were bought by American firm Dorilton Capital in 2020 while Alfa Romeo are the rebranded Sauber team, who were sold to Longbow Finance SA in 2016.

Racer say there could be some appeal in Alfa Romeo for Andretti because his now 81-year-old father raced for them in Formula 1 in 1981, his last full season before returning to IndyCar.

A buyout would make more sense as an entry into F1 due to the $200m payment required for an entirely new team under the terms of the latest Concorde Agreement, while it was declared in March that Andretti Acquisition Company hope to raise $250m through an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.