Michael Andretti confirms ‘number one choice’ for F1 seat and outlines US driver requirement

Michelle Foster
Michael Andretti

With the FIA hurdle cleared, Michael Andretti now faces his toughest task yet.

Despite Andretti-Cadillac not yet confirmed as Formula 1’s official 11th team, Michael Andretti is pushing ahead with plans to be on the grid in 2025, and he wants Colton Herta in the car.

Last year American driver Herta made headlines when AlphaTauri wanted to sign him as Pierre Gasly’s replacement for this season, but had to look elsewhere as the IndyCar driver didn’t have the necessary super licence points.

With the FIA making it known there’d be no exceptions, the 23-year-old continued in the IndyCar series with Andretti Autosport.

Andretti lays out criteria for F1 team’s debut line-up

The Formula 1 door, though, is by no means closed.

It could, however, depend on Andretti-Cadillac signing a deal with Formula One Management to become the sport’s 11th team in 2025. While they already have the FIA’s approval, the final say rests with Formula 1 chiefs.

And then, if it happens, team boss Andretti intends to bring Herta across with him.

Accepting that the super licence points do complicate the situation, the American is nonetheless hopeful that between now and then his driver can score the necessary points.

“Besides Dad [Mario], obviously, we talked a lot about Colton,” he told Sky Sports when asked about his potential drivers.

“Colton is definitely at the top of our list, but we have the points problem, so we have to see how he does in IndyCar to hopefully get enough points to get a super licence.”

As for the second seat, for that Andretti wants an already experienced F1 driver.

“Then, we’ve talked to a few others as well that do qualify. The goal is to have at least one American in the car and then an experienced driver in the other car to help mentor that,” he said.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Stars and racing stripes: Six American teams that failed to crack F1

FIA Super Licence explained: How drivers can reach the magic 40-point mark to race in F1

Andretti confident of revitalising Renault engine deal

Andretti are currently without an engine supplier after their pre-contract with Renault expired and the French manufacturer opted not to renew it.

But while the FIA could order one of the sport’s engine manufacturers to power Andretti, the team owner is confident that when the time comes, he’ll have a new Renault deal in the bag.

“I mean, technically the agreement went out but once we get our approval then you know that that’ll be fixed,” he said. “So we’re not worried about that.”

So much so that Andretti are pressing on with their plans, even building a 2023-spec ground effect aerodynamic Formula 1 car that will be tested in Toyota’s Cologne wind tunnel next week.

“At the moment we are still shooting for 2025,” Andretti said.

“Our car is actually going to be in the wind tunnel next week, so we have a car already built up in 2023 spec.

“We are flat-out and we are building a team, so at the moment it is ’25 but could be ’26, we’ll see.”

Read next: ‘It’s always Lewis Hamilton’ – Susie Wolff frustrated at lack of F1 driver support