Mario Andretti demands more respect from F1 teams


The Andretti family no longer hides it: they want to set up their Formula 1 team. Very established in the United States, particularly in IndyCar where their Andretti Autosport team is one of the best structures, the family wants to move to the next level by becoming the eleventh Formula 1 team.

But the arrival of new competitors is not seen very favorably by the current teams who fear having to divide their earnings into eleven parts rather than ten. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has expressed doubts about the credibility of the project led by Michael Andretti.

“All the teams have invested a lot of money over the last ten years to get here. If a new team is able to bring us more than it costs, we should sit around a table and talk about it. But so far, this proof has not yet been provided. » explains the Austrian.

Words that quite annoyed Mario Andretti, Formula 1 world champion in 1978, who does not want to be « taken from above » by the director of Mercedes.

“Toto Wolff spoke very openly about our credibility. With me, however, he speaks in a different way. » retorted Mario Andretti. “I find his criticism very disrespectful, because we have been active in motorsport for much longer than him. I respect his success so far, but he has no reason to look down on us. »

The former driver, also winner of the 500 miles of Indianapolis in 1969, regrets the blocking operated by the Formula 1 teams while the FIA ​​seems to have on its side its endorsement of Andretti’s entry as eleventh team.

“The FIA ​​is very open towards us and we have met all the requirements. Now we are waiting for her to give us a figure of what it will cost to pay the teams so that we can enter. » details Mario Andretti. “We know it’s in the order of $200 million. Now they probably want more, but so far we’re waiting for an answer. »

Andretti would aim to enter Formula 1 by 2024 and would already have an agreement with Renault for the French firm to provide him with an engine. The American team had first tried to buy Sauber (owner of Alfa Romeo), but the operation fell through. It is therefore only by creating a new stable that Andretti will be able to enter the queen category.

The family of Italian origin already has single-seaters entered in several categories, notably in IndyCar and Formula E. For Mario Andretti, his team is already prepared to integrate Formula 1 by securing the services of qualified personnel and lucrative sponsors.

 » [Les équipes de F1] always ask how we want to be competitive. I tell them: let that be our problem! You do not know our preparations. We don’t even need to hire new people, we have absolutely experienced people who have the necessary knowledge. Financially, we have credible partners who are aware of the magnitude of the project. We’ve been planning our program for a long time already, because that’s all we want. We deserve more respect. » thunders the former world champion.

We will certainly have to wait a few more months before knowing if Andretti will manage to convince the ten teams to let her enter Formula 1 in 2024.

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