Michael Andretti

General Motors says it will not enter Formula 1 without Andretti

Formula 1

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American car manufacturing giant General Motors has said it will only enter Formula 1 if it can do so with Andretti Global.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, confirmed over a month ago it had approved Andretti’s bid to enter the world championship from 2025. However Liberty Media, the commercial rights holder of F1, has given no indication what state its discussions with Andretti are at.

“There is a process that is in place, so as always, we don’t have to give any anticipation,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told investors last week. “The FIA did its right role of doing its first assessment. Now we’re in the process of doing our assessment on the commercial and marketing side.”

Andretti announced in January it intended to enter F1 with the backing of GM brand Cadillac. But while F1 and its teams have welcomed the possibility of GM joining the series, the series and most its competitors have opposed expanding the grid.

F1 won’t get Cadillac without Andretti, says Reuss
Williams team principal James Vowles was among those who said they would be eager to work with GM if Andretti was not able to enter. “Williams is against the addition of an 11th team and very strongly against,” he said last month.

“That’s not against either Andretti or GM, quite the opposite. I welcome GM open-armed, and Williams welcomes GM open-arms and I hope to forge a relationship with them, should things not work out. They are an incredible entity that I think will make the sport better.”

However GM have now made it clear that if F1 turns down Andretti, they will not enter the series with another team.

“GM is committed to partnering with Andretti to race in F1,” GM president Mark Reuss told the Associated Press. “The collaboration between Andretti [and] Cadillac brings together two unique entities built for racing, both with long pedigrees of success in motorsport globally.”

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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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44 comments on “General Motors says it will not enter Formula 1 without Andretti”

  1. Coventry Climax
    9th November 2023, 11:01

    F! CEO Stefano Domenicali

    ha, that’s about my opinion of the man alright! ;-)

  2. Coventry Climax
    9th November 2023, 11:07

    Vowles:

    I welcome GM open-armed, and Williams welcomes GM open-arms and I hope to forge a relationship with them, should things not work out. They are an incredible entity that I think will make the sport better.

    So, that’s an: I welcome them, but not as a competitor, not as another horse to feed from the same rack.

    I -generally- like Williams, but that’s favouring some sick kind of competition, as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Vowles endeared himself to me by the way he’s gelled Williams and advanced their performance, but every time he and Vasseur open their mouths on this subject I get a pretty sour taste. Vowles and co. would be better off saying nothing. Everyone already knows where they stand.

      Anyway, this is a real shot across the bow. I can’t see F1 and the teams winning this fight. If they made Andretti bring it to court, I think they would win and it would make F1 look extremely bad and sour a lot of good will.

      Maybe they can arrange a compromise. For example, if this all about maintaining financial stability for teams, make a deal in which if F1 revenue falls below a certain threshold Andretti’s prize/revenue sharing slice is a certain % smaller than the standard amount for WCC place and commercial revenue share. Or, similarly, they start out eligible for a slightly smaller % of both and as revenue goes up their % goes up x amount and likewise down when it falls from the baseline. And in x time period, the variable % expires all together if revenue stays at a current or higher average when divided by 11 teams.

      In the end, this would likely be for Andretti than incurring both the legal costs and any US corporate sponsors shying away from a highly public anti-monopoly case and less costly too for F1 in both repetitional damage among fans, sponsors, etc. and associated legal expenses.

    2. RandomMallard
      9th November 2023, 14:56

      I’ll be honest, while I’m massively in favour of allowing Andretti in, and very excited by the prospect, I actually sympathise quite a lot with Vowles and Williams far more than most teams. He did a very good interview with Sky after the FIA approved the Andretti application, and I think he does make an important point that while having Andretti would be great, it won’t increase the size of the grid if (and it is a big if) it causes another team to go bust. With how Williams have been in the last few years, I think they, and therefore Vowles, is in a pretty strong place to make this argument.

      I don’t agree with it though when it’s someone like RB, Ferrari or Mercedes saying the same thing, because my understanding is they’re already in the position where they could spend more than the budget cap and are in a financially stable position.

      As I say, I’m definitely in favour of an 11th team, even more so if it’s Andretti. At the end of the day though, I would also be very happy if Andretti decided to buy Haas (just as an example), if it provided a quicker and easier way for them to enter the sport if their main application gets turned down.

      1. If Vowles is saying it risks bankrupting another team that’s not really a vote of confidence in Liberty and its plans for F1 from him. Doesn’t really add up.

      2. If their application got turned down after all they did, there’s a thing that would make ME happier than andretti buying haas: andretti going to court and causing reputational damage to all of f1!

      3. But generally speaking, as bad a team as haas is, we’ve been stuck with 10 teams for a while now, and 11 would be better than 10.

        1. Coventry Climax
          10th November 2023, 1:16

          And 15 better than 11!

        2. Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…
          Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
          Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
          Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?
          Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
          Marty DiBergi: I don’t know.
          Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
          Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
          Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
          Marty DiBergi: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
          Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

          1. 11 would be great but if not, GM has the power to force Haas (the number of Haas CNC machines in the GM supply chain is massive) to surrender and sell to Andretti. Haas has done nothing in F1, Gene Haas himself is not involved and clearly doesn’t care, so let’s upgrade the competition on the grid.

      4. Coventry Climax
        10th November 2023, 1:11

        Where the sentiments regarding Williams and letting in Andretti/Cadillac are concerned, I think we have much in common, RandomMallard.
        What I don’t agree with, is the downright assumption that another team will go bust. Let’s wait and see first, and even if a team – Andretti themselves or any other – goes bust, that team might still be bought by someone.
        That’s nothing new, and it’s not necessarily bad either. Apparently, that team was unable to be (financially) successful. Time for fresh blood and have someone else have a go.

        There’s a concern about Andretti’s intentions that I understand though. Over time, F1 changed into a constructors as well as a drivers championship. As far as I’m concerned, non-constructors have no place in that. But even if Andretti/Cadillac may start out with a customer car, that does not mean they have no ambition to become a ‘real’ constructor. As far as that goes, Haas has set the absolute lowest standard possible, so anything better than that is, in my view, an improvement.
        Also, and maybe even bottom line, is that the ‘Haas construction’ (pun intended) has been made possible through the FiA’s weak rule making. People fearing a repeat should complain with the FiA, not with a new competitor.

    3. It reminds me of when Williams were adamantly against Customer cars about a decade or so ago. Remind me how did Williams get into F1 again? Oh yes, in the middle of the season in a customer March that they could enter because Grand Prix racing was open to any team with a car that met the rules (and could pay the entry fee) back then.

      1. Coventry Climax
        10th November 2023, 0:55

        I don’t remember all the details of back then. But I do think you may have put things slightly out of context here. Williams may have started out with a bought car, but they certainly did so with the intention of becoming constructors. A decade ago, and many years into their existence, they certainly were, and they opposed to teams coming in without any clear ambition and intention to also construct themselves. They opposed customer cars as a concept. I don’t really see the double standard you suggested.

  3. “The collaboration between Andretti [and] Cadillac brings together two unique entities built for racing, both with long pedigrees of success in motorsport globally.”

    Cadillac has racing pedigree?? Andretti is barely ‘Global’. They hold really little value outside of the US.

    I feel they want homegrown ‘Made in America’ teams in F1. Which means we’ll be adding more Haas like competitors to the grid. It would be much more exciting for fans to see GM partner up with a team with some pedigree in F1 such as Williams, instead of another Haas type project.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th November 2023, 11:36

      Did you care to type in “Cadillac racing history” in google? Even if you skip Cadillac’s own bragging about it, there’s enough to find there. Apart from that, they’re part of GM, so rephrase your search term in google and spend another day reading.

      I understand your worries, but you are really jumping to conclusions about them intending to be another Haas type team.

      Don’t blame a prospect team for wanting to join. As far as I’m concerned, they just want to compete.
      There’s a rule set there, and they had no part whatsoever in setting it up.
      Sentiments have no place in this process, but if those rules attract the ‘wrong type’ of contestants, then change them such that they attract the ‘right’ ones.

      The way they’re dealing with it now however, plain stinks.

      1. I googled Cadillac’s racing history and other than a few recent 24hrs Daytona wins and random North american racing championships no one has heard of, there is nothing at all. The entered Le Mans in 1950, with an odd looking uncompetitive car, and that was a highlight for them. Maybe you set the bar really low when it comes to racing ‘pedigree’. I could name at least 15 other motorsport brands with higher pedigree than Cadillac, and very few of them are currently in F1.

        So there’s no point in GM gloating of any brand recognition they bring to F1. Their entire presence is in North America, and there’s no real appeal of Cadillac or even GM outside of the US.

        I don’t blame them for wanting to join. I just think they’re a little out of their league if they join with Andretti. Joining with Williams is a better option for GM/Cadillac.

      2. I have to agree with @todfod here Cadillac doesn’t trigger any racing thoughts to me and i am following motorsports (Indy/F1 Le mans) from the 1960s Ford, Chrysler/Dodge and Chevrolet are companies triggering racing history to me (Buick has also some but much smaller)

        They have to produce a engine that will be very hard ……. but maybe GM uses his other brands for a engine? Andretti could develop cars if they uses all american talent but he should bring out some designs already so he can test performance vs F1 rules.

        But we will see in 2025 how everything goes.

        1. They have to produce a engine that will be very hard ……. but maybe GM uses his other brands for a engine?

          Forget about the 50s. The Blackwing motor that Caddy is running in their LMP car is a beast. There’s no reason to doubt they can come up with a viable motor for F1.

          1. Still even with that monster engine it will be very hard to make a F1 engine (and be the strongest and most reliable) several companies tried and failed or still doesn’t have it right (looking to Renault)
            But we will see if they can convert that design in a F1 engine.

      3. Did you care to type in “Cadillac racing history” in google?

        Do remember to consider that it may have been a different search engine used.
        Results vary, and the likes of Bing fail massively on an awful lot of queries. Plenty of content for the latest escapades of “celebs” who are famous for being famous, useful content – not so much.

        That said, the Google evidence doesn’t point to a rich history, but then on the other side Alpine isn’t exactly a mega-famous brand with major racing history.

      4. Coventry Climax, as others note, Cadillac’s history in the world of motorsport is actually rather modest.

        In terms of sportscar racing, you have a few races in the 1950s, of which the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans would probably be the only one that might be recognisable to most motorsport enthusiasts. Even then, Cadillac weren’t actively participating – Briggs Cunningham entered two cars on a private basis, and the Spider – aka “Le Monstre” – was modified to the point where you could argue that it’s more of a Cunningham design than a Cadillac design.

        After that, it’s then a 50 year gap to the next entry of note, which was the Northstar LMP series from 2000 to 2002, before you finally get to Cadillac’s current day motorsport programme, which started in 2016.

        You talk about “Cadillac’s own bragging about it” – you do realise that their section on their historical global competition comprises of just “Le Monstre” and the Northstar LMP? As others note, you seem to have a rather different definition of “bragging” when the best Cadillac itself can come up is a grand total of two cars and two sentences.

        SteveP, actually the historical Alpine marque has a much more notable history than Cadillac – Alpine took part in the World Sportscar Championship in the 1960s, with class victories in events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Targa Florio, to note some of the more prestigious races on the calendar in that era.

        In the 1970s, you had the Renault-Alpine sports prototypes, which went on to take overall victory at Le Mans, and they also branched out into Formula 2 and Formula 3 (Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux both won the European Formula 2 championship in Alpine designed cars). You could also note that Renault’s first steps towards competing in Formula 1 depended on research undertaken by Alpine. When Renault first considered entering Formula 1, it was Alpine who built a test car – the A500 – for Renault to use.

        Asides from that, Alpine was also noted for their participation in rallying in the 1970s, where they went on to win the 1973 World Rally Championship.

    2. Mario Andretti is literally an F1 World Champion. he has something 90% of the grid haven’t experienced in their lives. if his name doesn’t bring credibility and pedigree, then what exactly is everyone racing in F1 for?

      1. Did it the hard way too.
        Midgets, sprints, champ cars Indy 500 multiple winner, Daytona, Sebring F1 world champ and on it goes. Champion in just about any type of racing he turned his hand to.
        He’s even on F1 site which even acknowledges these “lower tier” race categories that formed him and others.
        Andretti name is worth having in F1

        1. * F1 website Drivers Hall Of Fame.

      2. How far is his name going to get him on the grid? He’s been away from F1 for decades.. and races in series that are so far technologically inferior to F1, that its just a joke.

        I have no problem with him entering the grid… we could use a good backmarker battle between them and Haas.

        1. Coventry Climax
          9th November 2023, 12:48

          I should hope the name, any name, alone won’t get them anywhere. It’s a championship, where people are supposed to fight for it. That said, a lot of it has already been taken away by the FiA, over the last decade or so.
          I’m sure they’ll start out as backmarkers, low midfield at best. But let’s give them chance first, shall we? Who knows where they end up in a couple years time. It’s no different from how the original contestants started. I’m sure there’s drivers that would love to extend their ‘career’ a bit more with them, once they’re on their return.

        2. My comment is about the notion and inference Andretti doesn’t have global appeal and/or pedigree. If Mario Andretti being an F1 World Champion doesn’t give his name global recognition and pedigree then what is the point of the other teams racing in F1? How does someone get global appeal to race in F1 if even being an F1 World Champion isn’t enough

          1. Alan Dove, firstly, the strategy that the Andretti Group has adopted in marketing themselves has been focussed on the US market pretty much exclusively. Even now, the strategy that Michael has outlined is still extremely US centric – having a title to Mario’s name doesn’t mean much in terms of global recognition if Michael is only making a token effort to appeal to the rest of the world.

            Secondly, there is a debate about how much the wider audience really is going to care about Mario’s title when it’s Michael who has been putting himself front and centre of the bid.

            Thirdly, how much is Mario’s title going to resonate amongst an audience who have no personal recollection of his achievements? More than two thirds of the current audience in Formula 1 hadn’t yet been born when Mario won his title 45 years ago.

          2. anon

            1. The Andretti Group’s current strategy is one based on their current active teams. Again, I am being specific to cite the Andretti name. There’s absolutely zero valid arrangement based on recognition. They tick every single box you can ever imagine. If Andretti can’t get a team, the assumption is NO ONE can get a new team.

            2. Again, this is focusing on the point about global recognition. The Andretti name has an F1 Woirld Champion attached to it. F1 can’t say that Andretti doesn’t have enough recognition when the recognition they do have is literally an F1 World Championship. Either F1 generates huge recognition or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

            3. I don’t understand this viewpoint. new fans of F1 don’t have any significant recollection of ANY team or driver until they become fans, and then become invested. There’s plenty of new fans who had never heard of Williams, but now do. So this point really doesn’t have much substance. If Andretti get in, then they will be an F1 name and within 5 years their name will resonate even more

          3. Alan Dove, I am not talking about Andretti’s current team alone, but about the stated intentions that Michael has for the Andretti name after entering Formula 1.

            When you look at what he is talking about, his strategy is “to get the USA rooting for a true US team, a true US driver”, and talking about how he wants Americans to back his team. By contrast, there have been no announcements of any interest in marketing his company in any other markets – even his own father, Mario, has talked about Michael having “an axe to grid” towards Europe due to the failure of Michael’s career in Europe and having something of an antipathy towards Europe as a result.

            You keep going on about global recognition, as if the name alone does all the work for you, but that is quite clearly not the case – particularly if the strategy of the team is rather nationalistic. Look at how many other teams were run by drivers with even more success than Mario achieved during his time – were the Stewart or Prost racing teams famous around the world and roaring financial successes because they had drivers with multiple WDC’s attached to them?

            Your comparison with Williams is rather poor in a number of ways too. I get the impression that you have probably grown up watching the sport when Williams was around the peak of their success, and also come from a English speaking background, which has probably made Williams appear to be disproportionately important to you.

            If, however, you look at what the data tells us people today think of Williams? It’s about as popular these days amongst fans as Alpine or Aston Martin – to the average viewer now, it doesn’t hold anything like the importance that you seem to have for it.

            Perhaps you might get more of a perspective when you consider how the Ayrton Senna foundation views the practical realities of keeping a successful driver’s name alive. Even though Senna’s success came a lot more recently and he has considerably more recognition at an international level, the people running the foundation have also talked about how they have to prepare for the time when Senna’s “going to be more of a distant memory than a real idol for young generations. You can keep his name alive, but not forever.”.

            In that respect, Mario Andretti is rather similar – to most people viewing the sport today, Mario is, at best, nothing more than a distant memory of the past.

        3. technologically inferior to F1

          Hardly, and any differences are strictly by choice.

          Why F1 is so addicted to spending hundreds of millions on designing silly end plates to satisfy the urges of some aerospace engineers who have an interest in cars is anyone’s guess. A lot of people are getting quite rich off of it though, so there’s that.

          There’s nothing special about technology in F1. Other than the MGU-H, and that’s getting ditched because it is a pointless technology in the normal automotive industry (there are a select number of use-cases, but it’s very niche).

          Since the late 1980s it’s been a matter of turning some dials where a regulator wants speeds to end up. Indycar wants their 232mph qualifying laps at Indianapolis, and the WEC wants 3:20 laps for the top class at Le Mans. Everything else follows from that. It’d be very easy to make F1 faster too, but it has its own set of performance targets.

        4. Senna, Piquet, Hill and Schumacher names seems to have worked for others.

    3. @todfod Have a look to see what car Fernando Alonso, the man in your avatar, was driving when he won the Daytona 24-hour race in 2019. :)

      1. @geemac

        I thought he was driving the Toyota when he won Daytona in 2019. Honestly, I don’t follow WEC. The 24 hours Le Mans is probably the only race I’ll watch highlights of.

        1. Alonso was driving a Cadillac. At least according to the entry list. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

          Like all the Daytona DPi cars of that era, the car was essentially a basic LMP2 by Dallara (the P217 in this case) with some minor manufacturer (cosmetic) changes. The “Cadillac” engines are made by ECR Technologies from a GM base, and while not a spec Gibson like in LMP2 proper, it was still heavily regulated.

          The 2026 engine regulations for F1 will also be very prescriptive, so the manufacturers will have very limited room to ‘design’ anything. It’s not quite a spec engine, but it’s very close. This of course to prevent another Honda-style embarrassment for the new manufacturers F1 hopes to attract.

    4. That hasn’t seemed to be what Andretti has implied. And it’s clear there will be maximum development, capex, etc. spending. Also, I think this project would attract better engineers than the dismal Haas team.

      Personally, I’d like to see another team, but it won’t be a big deal for me either way. I’m more concerned that the next gen car seems like it will produce extremely bad racing to me.

    5. Funny how the uninformed tend to have the loudest opinions

  4. Coventry Climax
    9th November 2023, 11:16

    “There is a process that is in place, so as always, we don’t have to give any anticipation,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told investors last week. “The FIA did its right role of doing its first assessment. Now we’re in the process of doing our assessment on the commercial and marketing side.”

    Maybe I missed all that but:
    So, mr Domenicali, it’s your belief you can keep everyone in the dark until, well, when actually?
    And that process you’re talking of, consists of doing nothing until it’s too late for them to get their operations in place?
    Would you care to disclose some sort of time frame around it all?
    The first question by managers is always: “When do you expect it to be ready?”
    Maybe you should live and act by your own standards?

    1. I think FOM/Domenicali will run into troubles in Europe if they want to exclude Andretti from the sport by commercially ghosting them.
      The ruling body of the sport defined in its rules that up to 13 teams can enter the competition, and Andretti passed the test to be the next one.

      FOM can make it more or less commercially attractive for Andretti, and they have a good shot at collecting the €200m ‘entrance fee’ as that has been widely shared. But using monopolistic powers to keep a new entrant out of the competition (not the prize money sharing) will be very difficult. It won’t be the first company finding itself on the wrong side of the argument versus ‘Brussels’ due to uncompetitive practices.

    2. Domenicali – and Brawn before him (I guess everyone is for sale if the price is right) – are hired because their credibility in the F1 world is worth something to Liberty. They don’t come up with these statements on their own.

      This is all just posturing to get the figures right for each party. Liberty is going to do whatever they have to to stay away from any anti-trust lawsuit, because they know full well that the Concorde Agreement won’t stand up to any formal scrutiny. Just look at how quickly they folded when Sauber and Force India suggested bringing their ‘concerns’ to the European Union.

  5. I find some of the comments here regarding Andretti’s “global” appeal and lack of pedigree laughable. Just this very year the world champion in Formula E was driving an Andretti car. They compete in more categories than any other entrant globally. It’s not even debatable. EXTREME E, FORMULA E, IMSA, INDY NXT, INDYCAR, SUPER COPA, V8 SUPERCARS. Many manufacturers have entrusted them to run their works operations such as BMW or VW. Regardless of Mario’s previous success as a driver, Andretti Autosport stands on its own merits as a successful racing entity.

  6. Shouldn’t the cost cap be reduced to compensate for the reduced income if more teams enter? For enabling a constant financial situation:)

  7. Nigel Mansell driving a GM Cadillac at Firebird International Raceway in 1993, with Mario Andretti is standing on the podium next to Nigel, in the first minutes at the start of the video…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V6jDvblKxI&t=144s&ab_channel=ColossallyMansell

    and btw…

    Ayrton Senna tested an IndyCar the year before on the same track…

    Stefano Domenicali… “Pfffttt” kind of sums it up…

    Andretti, that is about as big a name in racing circles as you will find, at least here in the US…

    and General Motors, (Cadillac Chevrolet Buick GMC Holden) certainly have a huge racing history in the WTCC, NASCAR, SCCA, Le Mans, and Supercars in Australia

  8. Since there’s a credible report out there (ie, an interview with Michael Andretti), that says Domenicali isn’t answering Andretti’s phone calls or texts, it’s hard to believe Liberty is taking the bid seriously.

    But, I still want to know– Is F1 in fantastic financial shape and experiencing record growth? Or is an additional team all it takes to crash a delicately balanced financially unstable franchise?

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