VeeKay thinks ‘real American team’ Andretti can ‘add value’ to F1

Sam Cooper
Michael Andretti smiling. Austin, October 2022

Michael Andretti smiling. Austin, October 2022

Rinus VeeKay believes a “real American team” like Andretti can “add value” to Formula 1 as they look to secure a place on the grid for 2024.

Andretti’s Formula 1 frustrations have lasted almost a year now as following a failed takeover of Sauber in late 2021, Mario Andretti announced in February 2022 the team were seeking an 11th spot on the grid.

Since then, progress has been slow with current constructors turning their nose up at the prospect of having to split their profits even more but Andretti, to their credit, have continued on their quest.

They have announced plans for a new $200m [£170m] factory in their hometown of Indianapolis with the goal of it being operational for 2025 and told that they were continuing as if their bid to join had been accepted.

Their proposed arrival onto the grid has split the paddock with plenty claiming they would see no value to Andretti joining while others such as McLaren CEO Zak Brown have been in favour of the move.

The Andretti plan has received more support in the form of IndyCar driver Rinus VeeKay who has backed the addition of a “real American team” onto the grid.

Haas are labelled as an American constructor due to their base in Kannapolis, North Carolina but much of their operation takes place in Banbury, England and Maranello, Italy which clearly rules them out in VeeKay’s mind.

“I think Andretti can add value to Formula 1. It is a real American team,” the Dutch driver told his country’s edition of “The Andretti name is synonymous with motorsport anyway.

“Years ago they announced that $200 million must be paid to register a new team. If you make that rule, then you actually have to stick to it. Then an interested party pays that amount and that is the threshold to come in.”

IndyCar drivers have found it difficult to transfer to Formula 1 with Colton Herta being the latest one to fall at the superlicence hurdle.

VeeKay said a new team would allow for more opportunities and also said the superlicence system was not surprising as the FIA wants to protect its own competitions.

“I also see it as a great opportunity for American drivers, IndyCar champions who want something different, to go in that direction. It’s a nice connection that could have been there. I also think it can’t hurt within Formula 1 to have two extra cars there.

“I find [Herta’s situation] a bit funny. But IndyCar is of course an organisation that is separate from the FIA. Then you might expect something like this from the FIA, that they mainly want to protect their own organisation and their own championships. I think it’s a shame.”

Another IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward said similar, telling that the current system was a “joke.

Read more: F1 waits to see how cards will fall on great American gamble