Michael Andretti, IndyCar, 2021

Michael Andretti has applied to enter a new F1 team, says father Mario

2022 F1 season

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Michael Andretti is making a fresh attempt to join Formula 1 by bidding to enter a new team, according to his father, 1978 world champion Mario Andretti.

“Michael has applied to the FIA to field a new F1 team starting in 2024,” he announced in a social media post on Friday. “His entry, Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA’s determination.”

Michael Andretti came close to agreeing a deal to take over Sauber, which runs Alfa Romeo’s Formula 1 team, in October last year. The parties came close to an agreement, but according to the IndyCar team boss “at the 11th hour control issues changed and it was a deal we had to step away from because we couldn’t accept it.”

Andretti previously lodged a bid to take over the Force India team when its assets were sold in 2018, and eventually purchased by Lawrence Stroll, who later rebranded it as Aston Martin.

His father’s post indicates he is now seeking to join the grid by forming a new team rather than buying an existing one. That would add an 11th entry to the field, increasing the number of cars to 22.

Starting a team from scratch would be an expensive move. Besides acquiring the necessary facilities and securing an engine deal, new entrants are required to pay a $200 million (£147m) “anti-dilution fee”.

However F1’s American owners Liberty Media are keen to continue the sport’s growth in the USA and are likely to respond favourably to interest from a successful US-based team owner. F1’s most recent wholly new entrant, Haas, which arrived in 2016, is also American.

Andretti indicated that, had his attempt to buy Sauber succeeded, he would have sought to place his IndyCar driver Colton Herta in the series. Former F1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi also drive for him, along with rookie Devlin Defrancesco.

As well as running four full-time cars in the IndyCar series, Andretti Autosport also competes in Formula E, Extreme E, Indy Lights and other championships.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Michael Andretti has applied to enter a new F1 team, says father Mario”

  1. One might hope that this would be done with a bit more research than his previous grand plan of entering a driver intelligible for an FIA superlicense.

    1. The most experienced F1 driver of all time was ineligible (I’m assuming not intelligible) for a Super License when he first started. I think Andretti could have made a very strong case for Herta to be granted an exception, just as Peter Sauber did in 2001.

      1. Yes, sorry, that word got autoincorrected. (and now the same semi-clever software suggests I mean ‘autocorrected’, brilliant)

        The rules were different when Kimi came into the sport, and there hasn’t been an exception to the FIA superlicensing rules since they came into force as far as I’m aware. Hence the apparent futility of Mr Andretti’s earlier efforts or the suggestion that there would be a case to be made in the first place.

        1. @proesterchen The only exception is Juri Vips, whose planned 2020 SF campaign got heavily disrupted by COVID. He got exempted from the standard 40 SL point limit, having reached at least 30, thus fully meeting the revised approach only applicable to COVID-related situations.
          Yes, Kimi’s case is different since the 2016-present requirements weren’t in place yet.

          1. Ah, thanks! 👍

      2. RandomMallard, under the superlicence regulations of that era, there was a mechanism for teams to acquire a superlicence for drivers who demonstrated their ability during testing.

        The clause under which Kimi received his superlicence was as follows:
        “g): (exceptionally), has a record of results which is judged sufficient, unanimously, by the Bureau of the Formula One
        Commission and has driven at least 300km in a current F1 car at racing speeds, over a maximum period of 2 days, certified by the ASN of the country in which the test took place. Only results obtained with single-seater formula cars will be taken into consideration. Should the members of the Bureau not agree unanimously, the Commission in its entirety will be consulted.

        In this case, the complete application must be received by the FIA at least 14 days before scrutineering for the first F1 World Championship event in which the candidate is to compete.”

        Kimi was the exception to the rules, as he was the only driver whom I am aware of as having qualified under that exceptional mechanism within the superlicence regulations in that era. In fact, it is quite possible that Kimi is the only driver who ever received a superlience via the mechanism for alternative qualification since the requirement for a superlicence was first introduced in 1978.

        Under the current regulations, whilst a mechanism was introduced to assist those whose seasons were impacted by “force majeure”, it is very unlikely that Herta would be eligible under that system. It really would be very optimistic to hope that the FIA might make that sort of exception when all but one driver who went down that route was rejected.

        1. Thanks for the explanation. Although I’m not sure the testing is what was judged in Kimi’s case, just his Formula Renault results I think, because the article itself states that it’s the race results being considered. My interpretation of that is that the testing is a just a necessity to prove they can at least competently handle an F1 car, although I may be wrong.

          However, looking through the current sporting regulations, I think it would be difficult for Herta to gain a Super License with his current points tally. However, that may be pretty different by 2024 depending on his upcoming Indy results, and other championships he could do to earn SL points, like Michael points out below. Or maybe the FIA could start taking Indy (or even Super Formula to be honest) seriously. Although for some reason I doubt that’ll happen.

          1. RandomMallard, the testing was judged to also be necessary for Kimi to demonstrate that he was also capable of handling his car in a safe manner at racing speed – still, the main point is that Kimi really was exceptionally lucky to get a superlicence, given that quite a sizeable chunk of the senior management of the FIA, all the way up to Mosely at the head of the FIA, thought it was premature to give him a superlicence with that level of experience, and that Andretti really shouldn’t be relying on getting that sort of level of treatment for Herta.

    2. I’ve mentioned it on a post before. While Herta might not have the points at the moment. If it was required Andretti could just get him a fully paid drive in the Asian Formula Regional championship. He would just need to place fourth in the championship. Herta would be a clear favourite to win based on his speed and experience.

  2. I hope this happens. It will be interesting to see which engine they would end up with

  3. He runs several teams so i think he will be solid.

  4. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    18th February 2022, 22:42

    An extra team on the grid would be nice, but the way it’s put, it’s a bit too ‘American’ for my taste.
    Used to push (at least one) American driver simply because of his nationality (imagine if that was anything other than American)

    And regarding the 200 million buckaroos: Yeah, sure, Libery would want more teams, but rules are rules. It’s in-place for a valid reason. If Liberty were to waive it (or push other teams to waive it for them), that also sends a signal. ‘Everyone is equal, except Americans are more equal than others’. Might as well pack the whole thing up then.

    1. If Volkswagen or any other car manufacturer wanted to start a new team they would be exempted from the rules too.

    2. Used to push (at least one) American driver simply because of his nationality (imagine if that was anything other than American)

      You mean like a French team pushing for a French driver (Renault/Alpine) or an Indian team pushing for an Indian driver (Force India)… I’m sure there are lots of other examples of teams pushing for drivers of the constructors nationality, but those two come to mind right away.

      1. I’m pretty sure you can consider Australian Mark Webber getting the drive with Minardi when Australian Paul Stoddart bought the team. But there is probably a lot of examples of Team Principals signing their countrymen, or even che

        1. Or even chief mechanics prefering someone from their country and similar language and culture to work with.

    3. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      19th February 2022, 5:53

      Well, that $200M entry fee is ridiculous as it’s only there to protect the money flow from F1 commercial rights and winnings to the current teams. It’s a deterrent to add any cars on the grid so I would NOT expect any additional teams entering the series until that entry fee is adjusted to something far more reasonable. Current teams don’t want more of their pie getting sliced up so its unlikely there will be any waiver to benefit or provide special treatment for an American team.

      Geeze… “it’s too American for your taste”… I thought we are looking for more “diversity” in F1?

      1. The fee is there for multiple reasons. One is to prevent another HRT. Another is to increase the value of the established teams. In the future it would benefit the value of the Andretti team as well.

        1. The cost cap is to prevent another get not the fee. The only reason those teams failed was the unfulfilled promises of a cost cap at that time

          1. Are we necessarily sure that those teams might have survived even if that cost cap had come into effect? Did they actually have viable long term business strategies?

            Back in 2009, the proposed cost cap for 2010 was set at £40 million, or an equivalent of $60 million based on the exchange rates of the time – however, marketing and hospitality costs, drivers’ salaries, dividend payments and expenditure on non-performance related activities were just some of the items that were exempted from that cap. Therefore, even if the cap was in place, that figure of $60 million would only be a fraction of the actual cost of competing in F1.

            If you look at HRT, Campos’s management of the team before he was kicked out and replaced with Kolles was utterly disastrous. The retrospective description was that the only thing that Campos had was his entry rights, having failed to secure enough funding to even meet the interim payments to Dallara for the chassis.

            Now, the chassis that Campos commissioned was reported to have cost €7 million which, based on exchange rates of the times, would have represented about a seventh of that $60 million figure. If Campos was struggling to remain solvent spending just that amount, could Campos’s plans have survived even under the budget cap arrangement?

            Similarly, when you look at Marussia, the annual turnover of that team in their financial accounts was $37 million in 2011 and their total expenditure was $98 million. In subsequent years, their turnover only rose slightly, reaching a peak of $41 million in 2014 before the team went into administration, whilst their total expenditure dropped to $89 million in 2014.

            When you consider that the team would have had to add non-technical costs on top of the $60 million cap on technical expenses, even with a cap in place, their total expenditure probably wouldn’t have been radically lower compared to what is actually was at the time.

            If we take their budget of $89 million in 2014 as likely representative of what they would have probably been spending if the cap was in place, they were still losing $48 million a year at the time. It raises the question of whether they could have remained solvent under the proposed cap, as their income was never enough to even cover the cap itself, let alone the costs that were exempted from the cap.

          2. Are we necessarily sure that those teams might have survived even if that cost cap had come into effect?

            Well, having the promised budget caps in place wouldn’t have hurt them, would it anon…..

            It’s not just about their own performance – financial and sporting – it’s about their competitors too.
            A dynamic that you didn’t even mention…

            Minardi somehow made it work for a long time – who’s to say “for sure” that the 2010 teams couldn’t in more helpful circumstances?

          3. S, for what it is worth, the reason why Minardi was able to “somehow make it work” is because, when you compare the budgets that Minardi was estimated to have had in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Minardi was a better funded team (with the inflation adjusted estimates only putting Minardi even further ahead).

            Now, could you please explain why are you stalking me around the forums again so you can keep having a go at me for no apparent reason? What problem do you seem to have with me?

          4. Okay…
            Firstly, anon – the plight of the lower teams in F1 has always been more important than the big teams. F1 is dead without them. Mosley’s budget cap was a way to assist smaller teams to be more competitive and improve their business case, similar to how the current budget cap is less-than-half-attempting to do.

            And secondly – get over yourself. Who do you think you are?
            This is a public forum and I can reply to any comment I wish, as can everyone else here.
            I’m sorry you feel so paranoid and are unable to accept any type of counter argument without feeling targeted, but that’s not my fault. You must be a real doozy to have an actual conversation with, I’ll bet….
            Or maybe nobody tries that with you anymore?

        2. What was wrong with HRT?

          Competing does not always mean success. Everyone should have the chance to participate, within reason.

          I don’t think they were the embarrassment that the likes of Onyx, Coloni, Pacific etc. were.

          1. @MSO

            Money was HRT’s biggest issue, if they had a billionaire owner or company they would have made it in F1 eventually. I am not saying the Andretti’s don’t have a business plan or the money to compete but they do need both….
            HRT were all right in F1 and you’re right about Onyx and Coloni but I don’t agree with you about Pacific at least they tried…

      2. @flyingferrarim I don’t think you are taking all the aspects of this fee into consideration. Sure it is to ensure that the existing teams don’t end up with lesser money from the distribution, and that’s only fair, no? But it is also to ensure that new entrants are serious and are going to be viable and sustainable teams in F1…ie. do F1 proud. It’s not at all meant to deter new entrants, for that is the last thing they are trying to do, but it will deter entities from wasting everyone’s time as candidates that likely won’t qualify for entry or won’t be able to show they will make a sustainable go of it.

        And what do new entrants get, even if they have to pay the full 200 mill? They get to play in an enhanced F1 that is potentially gaining more and more audience and sponsor potential, in cars that they will have a better chance of competing in and building themselves up towards the top, all the while being forced to spend less to be in F1, while also getting a bigger share of the pie themselves due to the fairer money distribution based on Constructor points. I think potential new entrants now see a lot more light at the end of the tunnel for their participation, rather than what we have had for a while being…right…come in, spend an absolute fortune, and still not be able to even dream of podiums let alone tackling the likes of Mercedes. There’s now stability in the pu aspect, and the new pu for 2026 is attractive as well for being less complex, less expensive, and more plug and play than has been the case since 2014.

    4. @barryfromdownunder “And regarding the 200 million buckaroos: Yeah, sure, Libery would want more teams, but rules are rules. It’s in-place for a valid reason. If Liberty were to waive it (or push other teams to waive it for them), that also sends a signal. ‘Everyone is equal, except Americans are more equal than others’. Might as well pack the whole thing up then.”

      From what I gather, the only reason Domenicali would waive the fee is if an entity came into F1 buying an existing team, or if they came in as a team also able to be a pu supplier to other customers. Who knows if he would have other reasons to adjust the entry fee, but suffice it to say it isn’t a situation of ‘rules are rules’ regarding the entry fee, for SD implied right from the start when they announced this fee, that it was negotiable depending on circumstances. It sounds to me, at least with what little we know, that Andretti will not be buying an existing team, and as to the pu, who knows, so I would think he is prepared to pay the $200 mill, or at least, as I see it, he is going to be assuming he will have to pay that and will be setting things up accordingly, unless he has already had discussions with F1 on potential concessions and a reduction of some percentage to the fee for whatever reasons.

      1. There is NEVER a fee required if you enter via buying an existing team, which is why it’s BY FAR, the most common way of entering. Why waste $200 when you can you buy a struggling team for less and get all the structure that comes with it. Haas is clearly the most obvious candidate for purchase right now. And if you can’t purchase the entire team, you’re still better off getting a 49% or 50% stake and becoming Sauber BMW or the like.

  5. Great news. In my point of view, F1 should do everything they can to get more teams on the grid, to the point where they have to actually qualify to get to start the races. That is what qualifying should be about. 20 cars on the grid works, but 24 or 26 I think would be closer to ideal.

  6. OK, it sounds like very good news, so let’s wait until the details come out. I’m interested in how ‘new’ a team it will be. Will it be an independent team designing and building their own cars or will it be just a parts bin car like Haas?

  7. Very exciting. The grid definitely needs more cars.

  8. Shame this can’t be sooner. The cost cap means that hiring experienced technical people would be relatively easy in 2022. Maybe he’ll hire a small core team now and more when he gets done level of approval.
    The Andretti name should be able to attract sponsorship.

  9. If he pulls it off, I’m very excited. That dilution fee is eye-watering though. $200m for essentially nothing. I’d love to see F1 back above 20 cars again though. Best of luck to him.

    1. F1 really needs more teams for more good drivers to get a chance

  10. More cars on the grid would be great, even if it was another also ran team. In many ways I miss the Minardi team, in every race I would hope they’d do well, knowing they’d just scrape by, barely make an impact on any given race, but they’d try their best every race. So many years went by I’d watch the winners, then hope the TV crew didn’t cut away before I could find out where the Minardi’s finished. I was just as passionate about them as any winning team.

    1. @Jason

      Minardi were great! I know they were under new management at the team but how good was it when Mark Webber finished 5th for them in 2002!!

      I am happy that even under new guise the team still continues in F1 sort of.

  11. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    19th February 2022, 5:35

    I would much rather see Andretti and HAAS partner up and not waste $200M to buy two grid spots. I would rather see one solid American owned F1 team compete strongly than two bumbling in the back. I also, honestly, don’t see HAAS lasting too long in F1 anyways. They are pinching pennies and seam to be just scraping by as is. Without much future success, Gene Haas will not continue going on like this and I would not want Mazepin Sr becoming an owner to support his son’s racing hobby. Maybe the influx of investment from Andretti could rejuvenate that team and maybe give them the investment needed to design and build their own cars by improving their current facilities? Plus the Andretti name will attract sponsors because its Andretti, lol. Maybe wishful thinking on my part.

  12. Interesting. From attempting to buy an existing team to starting a team from scratch. Good luck.

    1. @jerejj Agree, even if there is probably a lot of F1 mechanics and engineers looking for a job in this cost-cap era. Two years will not be much to develop infrastructures, teams and expertise. Surely the idea would be to get a Haas-like partnership at first ? A pretty difficult task.
      But there could be some incentive coming from engine makers. Would Red Bull or Alpine be actually offering interesting partnerships, or Porsche and Audi, should they jump in too? Entering F1 would not be that much expensive in the end, even if performing is another thing.

      We should enjoy the fact there is actually some people interested as I’d like to think it shows F1 is still relatively serious about keeping it attractive. Frozen engine, stable regulations, cost-cap, anti-dilution fee. All I see is more seats available, and with so much talents sidelined year after year I can’t help but welcome new entrants.

    2. @jerejj I wish him luck too. I think his desire to have a team dates back to his failure in ‘93 as a driver at McLaren. I think he’s always wanted to come back to F1 to prove that he is a winner.

      He has been massively successful as a driver and owner, with his F1 experience being the notable exception. And if that if that is what is motivating him, that can be really powerful motivation (more than just having a place for your son to drive or because you think there is marketing opportunities) and will hopefully drive the team to success. I’m excited for it and I hope he does well.

  13. Good to see a real racing team trying to make the step up, rather than some billionaire who wants his son to be champion. Now let’s find two more so we can finally have a full grid!

  14. Great news.
    New entries are crucial to break the red bull strangehold on the championship, giving the fact that, owning two out of ten teams, they can constantly blackmail the FIA

  15. Great news!

    But why does he Michael need his dad to break the news??

  16. Lawrence Stroll was telling reporters the other week that F1 is expensive and the guy is a billionaire with a firm vision of moving A.M to the very top, which would be so cool if he pulls it off.

    No offence to the Andretti’s they will need a big budget and I heard Gene Haas saying just putting an F1 car on the grid costs £60m, I did read else where that he wants the design team to be based in the U.S and have the actual race team operate in the U.K.

    I wish him luck with this new project however it would be pretty cool to see the Andretti name in F1 again, if I was Michael or Mario I’d make sure I could afford to do F1 knowing that I could get a decent budget year on year…

    1. Not sure why you think they haven’t and/or aren’t doing their due diligence. It sounds to me like they are quite determined to be in F1, so I’m sure they are well aware of all aspects of what it will take to do so, and to sustain an effort. In general I would suggest that Andretti and Co are stoked about the new cars and the lesser money they are forced to have to spend to be in F1, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they also think F1 is on an ascension in terms of audience and sponsor interest, and therefore see it as viable and likely lucrative to be in F1 now. Any serious team can come up with the $200 mill and over less numbers of years than previously they will get that money back and then some.

      1. Andretti has been making vague statements about starting an F1 team like this for 25 years. Until a formal exploratory committee is formed or a huge sponsor confirms a partnership, I will bet any amount of $ nothing comes from this. Purchasing Haas is the only realistic way you’ll see Andretti F1 on the grid.

  17. Starting a team from scratch was the only option for Michael. the US have good talent and have 6 drivers in the Formula 3 grid, 2 in GB-3, and Logan Sargeant in Formula 2. I only wished Michael to fund Cameron Das after winning the Euro Formula Open title last year.

    It will be a loss if Das was forced to return stateside for Indy Lights.

    We hope Michael can get Herta and Rossi in 2024. And it will take BIG BUCKS to buyout Josef Newgarden from his Penske contract.

    1. Rossi might be a bit old and has seemed to be a slump since Herta arrived at Andretti. I think Herta paired with someone with recent F1 experience might be better.

  18. The only way this happens if Haas sells, which would make sense since Gene is over F1 and it’s an “American” team. Unless the team produces amazingly strong results this season, he will be happy to sell. No way does Andretti have pockets deep enough to lay out $200m + build a team from scratch.

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