Opposing Andretti teams accused of ‘short-sightedness’

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff gestures to Zak Brown. Spain August 2020

Zak Brown has called out rival team bosses opposing Andretti Global’s arrival on the Formula 1 grid for being “short-sighted”.

Michael Andretti has applied to the FIA for a spot on the 2024 Formula 1 grid.

The American, who followed his father and 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti into Formula 1 although not the same longevity or success, is one of the most successful team owners in American motor racing.

And now he wants to do the same in Formula 1.

Andretti, under the name Andretti Global, has applied to enter the sport with the 59-year-old already putting plans into place such as agreeing his UK base and his team’s engine supplier.

But not all of the team bosses are in favour.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff feels Andretti needs to prove that he is worthy of being in Formula 1.

“We are the absolute pinnacle,” said the Austrian. “This is the Champions League, or the NFL, and redistributing franchises is not the goal, that’s not how it should be, and it’s not the intention of F1 and the FIA neither.”

And he’s not the only one who is sceptical with Christian Horner and Franz Tost also not rolling out the red carpet.

Brown says that, especially when one takes into the account we are talking about the Andretti name, is “short-sighted”.

The McLaren CEO told Motorsport.com: “I think Andretti as a name, as a highly credible racing team, and knowing who his backers are, and who he is, they will no doubt help us grow the sport in North America.

“I think the teams that may not support another team are being short-sighted.

“Are we trying to grow the sport? Or are we doing what racing teams have a bad tendency to do, which is think about today and not the future.

“His father’s a World Champion, he’s driven in F1 and he’s got multiple racing teams,” added Brown.

“I know who his financial backers are, and they are exactly the type of investors you would want in motorsport.

“Also, you can only have 12 teams on the grid. So once you have 12, you’re really in a situation where the only way to enter the sport is to acquire. So I think it will also further enhance the value of all the teams.

“Again, I think it’s short sighted to not want other credible teams to come in because of dilution.”

As for the concerns of some teams that they will receive less television rights income if there are 11 teams on the grid, Brown says that is combated by the $200 million dilution fee that all new entries have to pay.

“There is the dilution payment, which kind of covers you for a couple of years,” Brown explained.

 

“But you have to assume that Andretti will help us grow in North America, which will compensate for any dilution.

“If that is $100 million, can they help us grow $100 million more in revenue for the sport through TV and interest in sport? I think so.

“And the easiest thing after is to continue to look to reduce expenditure. In three or four years’ time, after the dilution payment is no longer in, just reduce our budget by $10 million a year.”

 

PlanetF1 verdict

 

‘Short-sighted’ to say no to Andretti

Zak Brown believes it is short-sighted to say no to Andretti joining Formula 1.