New Formula 1 team? Headwind to Andretti

Updated on 05/12/2022 at 11:09

  • A famous name intrudes on Formula 1: Michael Andretti will start his own team in 2024.
  • The American is making progress with the planning, but the enthusiasm in the premier class is limited.
  • The reason for the general reluctance: money, as always.

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The opportunity was favorable and Michael Andretti took advantage of it. Because he shook several hands on the fold in Miami, had countless conversations and drummed tirelessly – so that his racing team could get into Formula 1. The former racing driver wants to get involved in 2024, the plans are concrete and advanced, his enthusiasm is huge and the timing seems to be right in relation to the American hype about the best class.

“If all goes well, then we are in Formula 1 in 2024. We have an engine partner (Renault, editor’s note), we have the necessary finances, we have determined know-how,” said Michael’s father, Ex-world. champion Mario Andretti of Miami Men: “We have to get everything to be able to participate according to the requirements of the FIA.”

“Positive things are happening”

The Andretti plan, in turn, provides for the construction of an F1 plant in Indianapolis as early as August. “We have good discussions with the FIA ​​and it’s nice to see that FIA boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem is impressed with our plans. I will not reveal too much yet, but some very positive things are happening,” said Andretti The team would be the first signing since Haas 2016.

An eleventh team in motorsport’s leading class – anyone who thinks Andretti would be welcomed with open arms by competitors is wrong. For the skepticism among the other ten teams is great. And soon it gets complicated.

Of course, as always in the billion-dollar business of Formula 1, it’s about money. For critics fear that Andretti’s income would be lower and the value of Formula 1 would be generally diluted. The simple calculation: If the prize money is distributed to eleven teams instead of ten, the bottom line is that there is less left per. team. “If a team is added, how can it prove that it brings in more money than it costs? For an eleventh team, a dilution of ten percent means for everyone else,” calculated Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff in Miami.

The value of Formula 1 should not be diluted

Conversely, this means that Formula 1 should increase revenue. Doubts are hesitant about whether Andretti can actually add value. Even if the $ 200 million signing fee that Andretti has to pay is used to absorb the losses mentioned by Wolff – then it only works in the short term. There seems to be no long-term solution yet. “We need to think long-term,” Red Bull team manager Christian Horner stressed, “This is the first time in memory that we have ten healthy franchises, ten healthy teams.”

Wolff wants concrete figures. “If anyone can demonstrate that, then we should all sit at the same table and cheer on such a beginner,” Wolff said. But according to the Austrian, it has not been demonstrated yet. “It may sound a bit dry because it’s based on the numbers, but the value of Formula 1 is that there are a limited number of franchises. And we do not want to dilute the value by simply adding teams,” says Wolff. new that selfishness spreads when teams get their fingers in it.

“What does it give us?”

But Formula 1 owner Liberty is also skeptical. “There’s a chance we’ll increase the number of teams over time,” said CEO Greg Maffei at a Bloomberg event ahead of the Miami race, “but I don’t think it’s an urgent need.”

One question in particular drives the other teams: “What does it give us?”, Haas team manager Günther Steiner said on their behalf. “We are in a good position. Having more teams does not automatically mean being better. We do not need more as a team.”

Alpine and McLaren as supporters

Andretti seems to have a strong backer in the engine partner Renault (Alpine) as well as McLaren. “It fits in with the US expansion. I think it will fit in with the show and a US team will create direct interest in the US. And therefore sales,” said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi. Of course, the Andretti name has a long history in Formula 1 and motorsport more generally, said McLaren CEO Zak Brown, “and I think he would add value to Formula 1 – as long as it’s a team that helps build the sport. . “

Names from the recent past, such as Virgin, Manor, Marussia, Caterham and HRT, which mainly wrote negative headlines and quickly disappeared from the scene, are still present. “It’s a long process,” says Michael Andretti, “it can take until September or October.” After all, it’s about a lot of money. Then it automatically gets complicated – as always in Formula 1.

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