Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali has criticised Andretti for their “very vocal” approach to joining the grid, calling the approach “not smart”. However, he denies that the F1 authorities have been unwelcoming towards the team.
Last month, Andretti tried to make an entry by teaming up with General Motors’ Cadillac brand, but the response was lukewarm at best.
Team owner Michael Andretti told Forbes that the reluctance to accept the proposal was “all about greed” from teams.
He accused the current teams, who would face a reduction in prize money if an 11th team joined, of “not thinking about what is best for the growth of the series”.
In an interview with Sky F1, Domenicali expressed his dissatisfaction with Andretti’s tactics and claimed that F1’s priority at the moment is to preserve the value of the established 10 teams.
He said, “First of all, we’re very welcoming to anyone who brings value to the racing. You’re talking about Andretti, who I know very well, Mario and Michael for many years. It’s not a problem of unwelcoming, that’s the wrong wording.
“I think we need to respect everyone. There were teams like Mario and Michael Andretti who were very vocal about wanting to join Formula 1. In my view, it’s not smart to say that the teams are greedy, but that’s just my opinion. There are others who would like to join F1 but are much less vocal.
“There’s a process to respect, and we will make sure that everyone is respected and, if all the elements are there, they will be welcome. We don’t have to overreact because someone is pushing the system.
“We need to act to protect the growth of the sport and the sustainability of the teams that invested in F1 when things were different. The value of that investment today is much different from a few years ago.
“The process will be done seriously and no one can rush the decision because someone is shouting and others are not. I believe this is a great sign that F1 is becoming the center of attention for those who were not attracted to us before.”
What should Andretti have done?
When asked if Andretti’s aggressive approach annoyed him, Domenicali did not mince words.
“I’ve discussed that with them very openly and I told them I would have acted differently,” he said.
Domenicali defended F1’s cautious approach to welcoming new teams, claiming that the recent history of teams coming and going – all three of the new teams in 2010 had dropped off the grid just seven years later – has placed a large emphasis on sustainability.
“We need to be prudent. It seems like there’s a personal negative attack on Andretti, but that’s not the case,” he said.
“We need to be serious and professional in evaluating all the elements and, now more than ever, you need to be really strong to join F1.
“In the past few years, we had so many teams coming in and out, and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again for the best of the sport.”