F1 to Michael Andretti: Try Again in 2028

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When we last left former Formula 1 driver and current multi-series team owner Michael Andretti and his quest to be allowed to enter a two-car team in Formula 1, it was October 2 of last year, and the FIA, the governing body for F1, had approved his application.

Andretti then moved to the final stage of the process, which was handled by Formula 1 management itself.

Today, its decision dropped on Andretti’s head like a ton of bricks. In a 20-point assessment, F1 has blackballed Andretti’s application, though the series managers did say they could reconsider their decision for the 2028 season.

Andretti and his father, 83-year-old Mario Andretti, the 1978 F1 world champion, have been seeking to become the 11th team on a grid that seems happy with 10 teams and 20 cars. All during the process, Michael Andretti’s effort, in conjunction with a partnership with Cadillac, has received minimal support from some team principals, outright hostility from others.

F1 Las Vegas
Richard Dole

F1 claims its decision had nothing to do with how the other teams felt about Andretti. “Our assessment did not involve any consultation with the current F1 teams,” reads the rejection statement. “However, in considering the best interests of the Championship we took account of the impact of the entry of an 11th team on all commercial stakeholders in the Championship.” In other words, they understand that the F1 pie is presently divided into 10 parts, and those teams did not want to have to cut the pie into 11 slices.

The rejection seems to rely largely on the fact that Andretti F1 does not have a dedicated engine supplier. According to F1’s statement, Andretti’s application “contemplates an association with General Motors that does not initially include a Power Unit [PU] supply, with an ambition for a full partnership with GM as a PU supplier in due course, but this will not be the case for some years.” In other words, while Cadillac is happy to provide development resources such as wind tunnel time, and has registered as a power unit supplier with F1 as of last November, the company is not yet in a position to build a suitable F1 powertrain, a process which could cost upwards of 10 figures. If Cadillac’s situation changes by 2028, Andretti’s application would stand a better chance of approval.

“Having a GM Power Unit supply attached to the Application at the outset would have enhanced its credibility, though a novice constructor in partnership with a new entrant PU supplier would also have a significant challenge to overcome. Most of the attempts to establish a new constructor in the last several decades have not been successful,” the rejection statement said. “GM has the resources and credibility to be more than capable of attempting this challenge, but success is not assured.”

GM F1 Andretti/Cadillac announcement Cadillac logo on intake and roll hoop
General Motors

F1 management said that: “Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship. Any 11th team should show that its participation and involvement would bring a benefit to the Championship. The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive, in particular by competing for podiums and race wins. This would materially increase fan engagement and would also increase the value of the Championship in the eyes of key stakeholders and sources of revenue such as broadcasters and race promoters.

“We do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant.” This comment will catch any motorsports aficionado by surprise: Michael Andretti as a driver and team owner has consistently been competitive in a variety of series, including IndyCar, Formula E, and IMSA, proving itself most recently with Jake Dennis’ win in the season-opening Formula E race last week.

But what about the Andretti name, arguably the most famous racing family in North America, which has become a huge market for F1? “While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”

The only ray of hope for an Andretti- and Cadillac-backed team was this: “We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 Championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house. In this case there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM to the sport as a PU supplier.”

Haas F1 2022 testing pre-season car
Haas F1 Team

This, despite the fact that multiple teams currently in the series use powertrains bought or leased from other manufacturers. And that the only American F1 team, Haas F1, has been a perpetual backmarker since it entered the series in 2016, and has always used a supplier engine, originally from Ferrari. Haas F1 finished 10th out of the 10 teams in 2023, and owner Gene Haas fired team principal Gunther Steiner this month. Steiner had been with the team since it began. Haas has never had an American driver.

Almost certainly, Andretti could do better.

So it appears Andretti’s only real path into F1 is to buy an existing team, but he has said repeatedly that there isn’t one for sale.

Last year, we asked Andretti if he was disappointed with the lack of support he has received from other F1 teams. “I don’t know if ‘disappointed’ is the word,” he said. “I said some things I shouldn’t have. I should have said that every team is going to look out for themselves, that’s just the way it is, especially as big as Formula 1 is. My point was the series—FIA and F1—look at it a different way than the teams do. They are the ones who have to look out for the future of the sport, where the teams have to look out for the future of the teams.

“I think I used the word ‘greed,’” as he described the teams’ negative reaction towards his initiative, “which was the wrong word. I should have said ‘self-interest.’ If I was in their position I’d probably be doing the same thing.”

Well, maybe. The fact that F1 can’t see the value in a solid American team, likely with at least one American driver, and an association with General Motors—we’d say “disappointed” is the right word.

Late today, Andretti issued a statement: “Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagree with its contents. Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best. We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace. Andretti Cadillac would also like to acknowledge and thank the fans who have expressed their support.”

A tweet from Mario Andretti perhaps sums it up: “I’m devastated. I won’t say anything else because I can’t find any other words besides devastated.”





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    This is the same old political crap F1 is made up of and why I lost interest. If they would bring them in I would have given it another go.

    Right now I would build a car and engine and test the hell out of it till accepted. I would keep the result quiet and then enter the series to steal their lunch and eat it in front of them.

    So, F1’s message to me, as an American is: more American races, more American viewers, more American advertising, more American money, but no more American teams. My message to F1 is, I’ll keep watching IMSA and endurance racing for my motorsports fix. F1 holds a race literally 30 minutes from my house and I don’t bother. I see less of a reason to start now.

    Liberty and F1 are converting F1 from a sporting event to an entertainment event. All you have to do is see all the “stars” who know little to nothing about F1 during the grid walks and on some occasions waving the green or checkered flag, even waving the latter early on one race. As noted above, WEC, IMSA and Indycar are more sporting and more exciting with the exception of street races where the organizers are falling prey to the entertainment party dollar versus real driving skill and engineering on roads that are more relevant to the cars and allowing real fans enough access to most if not all areas of the track without huge fences, billboards or bui9ldings limiting your view to a few hundred feet. Let’s get back to the traditional and historic road courses.

    Liberty ownership or not, F1 is Euro-centric in attitude; among their last wishes is a bunch of Americans coming for their lunch. I think that if they were focused on entertainment, they’d see that the American market is pre-occupied with that. The initial F1 teams’ responses referred to splitting the pie, and being F1, money is the ultimate driver of thinking. All that said, without the GM power unit being ready to go, the entry isn’t really ready. Andretti & Cadillac have a huge bet to ante between now and 2028. I’d be mad as hell if I was in their shoes.

    FOM has done a grave disservice to the sport and their owner, Liberty Media, has proven themselves as spineless weasels. They invented standards during their “review” for Andretti that are unachievable by any new entrant – be immediately competitive despite the fact that of the 10 current teams there are maybe 3 with a chance at winning and 3 backmarkers.

    2028? This is another way of saying that the current Concorde Agreement is not to be considered. Every current team agreed to the current terms which include up to 12 teams, a $200 mil dilution fee, track requirements that already mandate ability to handle 24 car grids, and a process for a mandatory engine supply teams in need. So, 2028 will mean that the new dilution fee that the teams have been whining about will be in effect.

    FOM says that they did not consult with the existing teams. Utter BS as they did not need to ask when it was all in public announcements about their stance. But, the existing teams would even prefer fewer teams on the grid, as long as its not themselves, to increase the payout. These are the wrong people to be giving credence to as they have huge self-interests that are contrary to F1 and the fans.

    What F1 needs are more cars on the grid so there are more seats for the drivers. There are a string of drivers that deserve a chance but can’t get it even with F1 team driver development backing. Go back some years and remember Minardi – perennial back marker but they served to give the initial seat for a lot of successful drivers.

    I wonder if one of the unmentioned issues is that a new team, anyone not just Andretti, means that there would be increased poaching of team members and price escalation for these people.

    I do hope that the FIA decides to take this fight up with the FOM. Hopefully Andretti has legal grounds to haul the FOM into court too.

    If Roger Penske had of decided to enter F1 would he have been turned away and insulted like Andretti has been?

    I think you covered everything here. Its doubtful that Andretti will be able to hold this together for another 4 years given the flakyness of large company leadership for this sort of thing. Sorry Mike and Mario it was probably a more solid application than any of the teams in their currently

    Penske Racing (later renamed to Team Penske) was formed in 1968 by American motorsport entrepreneur Roger Penske. The Penske team chose to miss the Italian Grand Prix, returning for the United States Grand Prix. For this race the March 751 was abandoned in favour of the team’s newly developed Penske PC3 driven by Northern Irish driver John Watson. Watson used the car in practice sessions and qualified 12th, but technical problems with the car forced him to switch to the spare PC1 for the actual race. Watson finished ninth in the PC1.[18]

    The Penske team scored two World Championship points during the 1975 year. The team remains the last American team to win a Formula One Grand Prix (the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix) before exiting Formula One for good.

    F1 lost my interest long ago because of crap like this. If team Andretti joined, it may be enough to pique my interest again, but leave it to F1 to reject on of the most qualified contenders in the world. Oh well, sorry F1, still not interested.

    Rich dogs in a silk-lined manger. Andretti would have added a lot of extra pastry but they’d rather have one-tenth of a smaller pie, than one-eleventh of a bigger pie.

    So F1 only cares about itself, nothing else. I have been bored with F1 for awhile and got out of following it. Not saying Andretti would have brought me back in but it’s clear F1 likes where it is right now.

    Having met Michael Andretti many years ago when he was racing, I liked him and his team. I think FI needs to be ousted in the USA. They want our money, our viewers and attendies, but not our participants. I’ll not be
    watching them this season or any of them until they get their heads out of the sand.

    Personally I regretted Liberty taking over F1 because I knew it would be turned into a circus on American soil. This is not an insult but Austin at this point is the ONLY F1 track in the U.S. Miami is a JOKE and I think Vegas and everything that surrounds that race is ridiculous…….then add in a start time to cater to Europe. What we hear now is F1 (FIA) want more street circuits……….beyond ridiculous with potential losses of the most famed race tracks in the world. Did you ever notice that SKY Sports NEVER announce attendance at any of the Middle East races…………they are NEVER close to a sellout. None of those races have any significance or history and are just on the calendar to tap oil reserve money that has no where to go.

    Back to Andretti…………the F1 announcement was an insult plus adding into it a 2028 possibility?……….F1 (FIA) are hoping this time frame will kill off the Andretti name in their plans. The current rule/regulations book has a 26 place grid (13 teams)………yet the current teams are crying about getting a smaller cut? F1 is pulling in more money than ever and your telling me the 10 current teams pie hasn’t grown and couldn’t grow for an 11th team?

    F1’s direction now is solely one thing more than ever…………GREED! Knowing American’s, they can vote with their feet with the best of them and I am hoping that the 2024 Miami and Vegas races make F1 and the FIA stand up and notice their own arrogance and ignorance!

    I have to agree with the comments here. I was a regular when F1 was at Watkins Glen and followed it when it left but lost interest back in the 90’s. One of my bucket list trips was COA but that has just been clipped. I’ll get my fix from IMSA, have no interest in the farce at Las Vegas, and get to a few more local short tracks.

    The increased interest and funds an Andretti-GM team would generate in TV royalties, spectators, sponsors, and advertisers from America into F1 would probably more than cover the 10% reduction of each of the other team’s “slice of the pie”. Looks to me like this may be F1’s way of pressuring GM into committing to full participation.

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