Brown disappointed by ‘resistance’ to Andretti F1 entry

Sam Cooper
Zak Brown on the grid. Bahrain March 2022.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has said the Andretti family’s intention to join F1 has been met by “resistance” but hopes it is not dead.

A prospective Andretti Global entry into the sport from the 2024 season has been on the cards for a while and was given more credence when Michael Andretti, son of Mario, submitted the required paperwork to the FIA but has yet to hear if it has been successful.

One of the main issues could be the current 10 teams in the sport and their unwillingness for an 11th to join and have a share of the profits.

The Concorde Agreement states that any new entry must pay a $200million anti-dilution fee to compensate other teams for the extra piece of prize money distribution, but team principals such as Toto Wolff have questioned this.

He argued that given the investment the current teams have already put in, a new entry would have to show they added value to the sport.

One of Andretti’s main supporters though has been McLaren CEO, and fellow American, Brown. He said that he hoped the deal was not dead despite the opposition.

“I hope it’s not dead; I don’t think it’s dead,” Brown told Sports Business Journal. “But it certainly seems like it’s meeting a lot of resistance.”

 

Among the talk is whether, given the rise in the sport’s popularity especially within the US, that $200 million buy-in figure should be increased. Brown said that he would not comment on if that is the right number and such matters should be left up to F1.

“I wouldn’t want to comment on what I think the right number is,” he said. “But what I would say is the value of an F1 franchise from when the Concorde Agreement was signed [in 2020] to now — it’s grown rapidly. Ultimately, it’s up to F1 to decide what the right number to buy in is, but what an F1 team was worth three years ago — it’s significantly more today.”

McLaren themselves has been the subject of speculation that they could be bought by Audi, another company looking to join the sport, but Brown has been insistent the team is not for sale.

“No, no. Our shareholders are very committed to McLaren,” Brown told Motorsport.com.

“We had conversations with Audi and we are not for sale. We are very committed to our future and we are doing really well on the track.

“Shareholders are making substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back to the front, and commercially we are doing really well. Morale in the team is really good. We don’t have any interest in selling the racing team.

“We are McLaren F1. That’s what we will remain, and we will remain owning the racing team.

“Our terms for any partnership would be we retain ownership of the racing team. And if anyone wants a conversation that is different to that, there’s no conversation to be had.”