Michael Andretti spoke exclusively to Sky Sports F1 after his team’s bid to enter F1 was approved earlier in October by the FIA; watch tonight’s qualifying from 10pm for Sunday’s Grand Prix on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 9pm, before Saturday’s sprint in Austin
21:48 UK Friday 20 October 2023
Michael Andretti says opposition to his team’s future entry into Formula One is a “mystery” and that they “have the right to be on the grid” after sealing the FIA’s approval.
Earlier in October, Andretti was approved to become a new 11th team by the sport’s governing body, but must now agree terms with FOM, F1’s commercial rights administrators, who are heavily influenced by the 10 current teams.
Most team principals have repeatedly expressed opposition to Andretti’s entry, with current teams suggesting that the American team would not bring enough additional value to the sport to justify the percentage of revenue they would take from the current split.
“Thank you to the FIA and the FIA president for expressing your interest,” Andretti said Sky Sports F1 at the United States Grand Prix in Austin on Friday.
“It was very energetic, it was very hard to get through for our team and I’m proud to say that we came out on top in every category and we’re very proud of that.
“It definitely shows that we have the right to be here on the grid and we’re excited about that.
“We think we really have something to offer F1 fans.”
“Hopefully we’re bringing in more than we’re taking out”
F1’s cap of 12 teams up to and including the 2025 season, as set out in the current Concorde Agreement, the document that binds the rules and governance of the sport together, has prompted the FIA to seek the addition of at least one more team.
Former American driver Andretti, who won the US CART championship and had a brief stint in Formula 1 with McLaren in the 1990s, is spearheading his team’s bid, which competes in other motorsport disciplines in association with the Cadillac brand of General Motors.
Asked about the stiff resistance expressed by current teams, Andretti added: “I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me, in a way, why they back down.
“They say we’re cutting the pie, but I think the point is we’re hopefully bringing in more than we’re taking away, and we really believe that.
“If you look at fan support in all the surveys that have been done, we think we’re going to add to it, not take away from it.”
Wind tunnel time is planned with a target of 2025
Andretti said the team was still aiming to enter Formula One in 2025 and their preparations included building a car to 2023 specification, which they will test in the wind tunnel next week.
“Right now we’re still shooting for 2025,” Andretti said.
“Our car will actually be in the wind tunnel next week, so we have a car that has already been built to 2023 specification.
“We are ready, we are building a team. Right now it’s 2025, it could be 2026, but we’ll see.”
Andretti’s legendary father Mario, the 1978 Formula One world champion, is also involved in the project and said the sport’s status as the “Olympics of motorsport” was driving the family’s ambition.
“Motor racing was our life,” he said.
“I am so proud of Michael for his ambition to be in all the major disciplines. This is how we make a living. I’ve been feeding my family through motor racing since day one and here we go.
“This is our life, so we want to be on top. Formula 1 is the Olympics of motorsport, so that’s where we want to be.”
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