Andretti’s attempts to force F1 entry hit by roadblock after boss Mario discovers harsh truth about current line-up

Former F1 world champion Mario Andretti has hit Stefano Domenicali with a sharp response following the Italian’s comments labelling his approach to an entry in the pinnacle of motorsport racing as “not smart”.

F1 CEO Domenicali had recently claimed that Andretti’s attempts to enter the sport through public statements was “not smart”.

FIA has, of course, opened its doors to potential entrants as it seeks to increase the scope of F1 further.

However, Andretti’s expression of interest, which has been rather public for the best part of a year, has not gone down too well with a number of teams.

Why don’t other teams want Andretti to enter F1?

2022 cars. Credit:

The main contentious point for Andretti has been the fact that the current teams on the circuit don’t believe their brand name will add much value to the sport.

Rather, the argument has been that Andretti’s inclusion will only lead to a smaller corpus for the rest of the teams.

An 11th team in the sport will, after all, lead to a dilution of the prize money that is on offer.

This is despite the fact that Andretti will actually have to pay for its entry and ability to stake a claim on the $200 million in prize money that is currently on offer.

“There were teams like Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti that were very vocal about the will to enter Formula 1,” Domenicali had said last week.

Andretti had called existing teams ‘greedy’ for not being open to his team’s inclusion.

Domenicali did not like Andretti’s choice of words one bit.

“In my view, [it’s] not smart to say that the teams are greedy to protect themselves, but that’s my opinion, but there are others that are much less vocal that would like to come in Formula 1,” he had said.

“So there is a process to respect and we will make sure together with the FIA that the person will be respected and, if all the elements are there, they will be very welcome.

“There will be a lot of dimensions to consider and we don’t have to overreact because someone is pushing the system.”

Andretti is playing by FIA’s rules: Mario

Mario Andretti. Credit:
Mario Andretti. Credit:

Andretti has now responded to the comments of the F1 CEO, claiming that he has been misrepresented.

“All we’ve ever done is shown excitement, maybe myself at the prospects of seeing Michael entering Formula 1,” Andretti told PlanetF1.

“I don’t think there should be anything wrong with that. For the rest, we’re following every bit of protocol, I think everything is in place right now.

“That’s all we can do. You can look at this thing in different ways, but I don’t feel that we have violated or have done anything wrong, just showing the excitement of doing this. So, if we’re a bit open about it, speaking with the press and so forth… that’s life, that’s the way we do things.

“But I don’t know where anyone could say we’ve done something really wrong, so that’s the way I look at it.”

Andretti trying best to take the necessary steps

Stefano Domenicali and Michael Andretti. Credit:
Stefano Domenicali and Michael Andretti. Credit:

Andretti recently announced a decision to partner with General Motors’ Cadillac brand.

This undoubtedly lends greater credibility to the team and could be integral as it seeks to find a spot in F1.

Mario believes this shows just how much Andretti respects FIA and how it is willing to do everything according to the stipulated process.

“We’ve done everything ‘the system’ has asked, including bringing General Motors, the biggest US manufacturer,” he said.

“A giant of a manufacturer making a long-term commitment. Of course we’re going to talk about it – because it’s big news. If others are less vocal, maybe it’s because they have nothing exciting to share.

“General Motors is really behind the Cadillac brand; you can see what they’re doing in sports cars.

“They’ve been very successful in American sports car racing with IMSA. Now, they’re looking at Le Mans. To me, that is very exciting – to see a company like that investing in our sport the way they are.

“This is a long-term commitment, which I think, looking at the investments from every party, should be hopefully welcome into Formula 1, or any other aspect of our sport.

“It creates stability, it creates a solid commitment. I mean, General Motors, a giant of a manufacturer making a commitment to Formula 1. Hopefully, that will make all the difference. And Michael brought that to the table.

“We’ve been told clearly, all along, if we have a manufacturer, it’s a different story. So GM should be a game changer. We’ll continue to fight for a place in F1. Every aspect of it.

“We’ve followed protocol, we have absolutely respected the process now for over a year, we’ve met the requirements, we’ve brought the manufacturer and we’re excited.”

Andretti struggling to find team for sale

Is the Andretti F1 dream still alive? Credit:
Is the Andretti F1 dream still alive? Credit:

Mario believes that the partnership with Cadillac undeniably adds more weight to Andretti’s entry bid.

“I would hope so. Securing Cadillac backing adds to the seriousness of the overall effort being made,” he said.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner had suggested that a more viable option for Andretti would be to purchase an existing team on the circuit as opposed to entering as a separate entity.

However, Mario has claimed that such an option just does not exist in the current F1 environment.

“The fact is that there are no existing properties available,” he said.

“Michael and his team, they have pursued every aspect of that scenario. There is nothing available. There are no existing teams for sale.”

It has been argued that Andretti is being forced to wait on the sidelines till a new Concorde Agreement is devised by the FIA which will come into effect after 2026.

This will raise the entry fee for prospective teams from the current figure of $200 million.

“I don’t know what is in play right now,” Andretti said.

“The one thing that is paramount for us is to be able to be on the grid, at least, in 2025. That’s the commitment that was made clear.

“Cadillac wants to make sure that we have at least one season under our belt before the new rule comes into effect, where they come into play with their engine so that’s what has to happen for us to be able to have all the pieces in place.”

With Ford set to join the sport in partnership with Red Bull, Andretti said he was happy to see another American manufacturer make its presence felt.

“I share the enthusiasm about another manufacturer joining Formula 1.”

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