Formula 1 logo, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

“Despicable and insulting”: US-based racers slate Formula 1 for snubbing Andretti

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Formula One Management’s refusal to allow Andretti Cadillac to enter the series over the next two years prompted a critical reaction from current and former IndyCar drivers.

The FIA, the governing body of motorsport, approved Andretti’s bid to enter the series last year. However Andretti failed to gain the support of FOM, which announced yesterday its application had been rejected.

“One of the top five dumbest statements I’ve ever read,” declared former Andretti IndyCar Conor Daly on social media in response to FOM’s 20-point rejection of Andretti’s bid to enter F1. FOM said it did not believe the sport needed an additional 11th team, cast doubt on how competitive Andretti would be and said its brand was not sufficiently well-known among fans.

Former Formula 2 and IndyCar driver Callum Ilott said he was “not sure what else is missing to get an F1 entry.”

Conor Daly, Meyer Shank, Mid-Ohio, IndyCar, 2023
Daly derided F1’s ‘dumb statement’ on Andretti
“If they couldn’t get an entry I don’t see how anyone else ever can?” he added.

Oriol Servia, who started two races for Andretti in his long IndyCar and ChampCar career, bitterly criticised FOM’s decision. “I’m sure it must be a more complex decision to what it may appear to some of us, however, I found despicable and insulting the reasons [argued] behind it,” he wrote.

“Andretti Global brought to the table funding, commitment, a top-notch manufacturer with Cadillac and GM, a US-based team, earned ‘charisma’ and three generations of motorsport excellence. Hard to argue against the fact that Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti himself are not part of the foundation where F1 sits today.

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“As a team I believe they have won a few things along the way in every championship they have entered: Indycar, IMSA, Formula E, Indianapolis 500, Extreme E, Indy Lights.”

Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2023
Analysis: FOM set the bar far higher for Andretti than for recent F1 teams
Penske IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin questioned why F1 had turned down a credible entrant from a country it considers a major market: “A racing series wants to expand into America,” he wrote. “But won’t allow any more American teams in it. Makes sense.”

“It’s alright,” he added. “Take your 10 teams. We will have 27 cars within a second in a few weeks, having zero idea Sunday morning who’s going to win the race. All the very best.”

However American racer Graham Rahal said he was unsurprised by the decision, pointing out his earlier assessment of F1’s reluctance to consider admitting Andretti.

“F1 is an elitist sport,” he wrote last year. “They don’t want us. Remember that. They want US companies’ money, they want wealthy US individuals’ money. But they don’t care about the rest. Always has been that way, always will be.”

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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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31 comments on ““Despicable and insulting”: US-based racers slate Formula 1 for snubbing Andretti”

  1. No Engine, no dice! Simple. Stop with the anti-Americanism already!

    1. One of the things I’ve found funny watching from a far is how those for Andretti onto grid from andrettis themselves to fans never ever actually give an actual reason as to why an Andretti should be granted a seat given what they claim to offer.

      They just always wax poetic about how it just makes sense yet every single conceivable metric shows formula one simply does not need to take the gamble on this entry to reap what it is already, NOT GOING TO but already benefitting

      I don’t know why we’re acting surprised the stakeholders and the persons they employ who have fiduciary responsibilities to increase or maintain and at the very least not actively lose operating profit turned this entry down. A rudimentary analysis shows andretti’s mere name does nothing for the kind of audience f1 has garnered: newcomers to motorsport. They have haas and before you open your mouth, I completely agree but like I said, that type of fan does not care, if they did Gunther would have never ever been a super star. You won’t have seen as much haas memorabilia at the Austin GP or u.s. companies vying to slap their name on Haas. Not to mention the salient point that andretti’s involvement in other series aren’t exactly setting said respective series on fire. They just won formula e thanks to Porsche and Dennis and some people still don’t know they compete there. Did you know, they compete in extreme e, you knew Hamilton and rosberg had teams but somehow andretti slipped right past ya huh? Pop quiz, does Andretti compete in the mx-5 cup? , you don’t need to answer, that’s the point, the venn diagram of hardcore andretti fan and also some how completely missed formula 1 or even open wheel Motorsports doesn’t exist. Andretti isn’t and cannot offer and an untapped market.
      Of course, saying no and come back in 2028 is the official decision, what else possibly is the answer? Sure, let’s see how this pans out, maybe you won’t cost us a few hundred million, let’s do it!!

      Look I know this sucks but this isn’t greed, this seems like a very rational business judgement. I don’t see the inherent flaw in their line of thinking, the commercial side of f1 – AN AMERICAN COMPANY mind you – said no, not right now, we don’t need you to bolster the market, we’re doing fine, try later.

      Be mad, be upset, but calling it wrong, is respectfully, a stretch. If you had the power and responsibility you come to the exact same conclusion: F1 is already selling out tickets, and doing record numbers even during one the most dominant displays by a single driver and team, this was only ever going to end horribly unless a lot of monies exchanged hands (2028)

      Commensurations and I’ll see you during preseason testing, Allison is back, Hamilton has hired a coach, I still believe in Charles’ belief in Ferrari, McLaren is cooking something, aston know where they went wrong, key has a chip on his shoulder, Sargent is driving to survive, Sergio needs to decide if he has what it takes, alpine is…there, Williams cap ex year 0, Haas is restructuring with a technical lead, and vcarb has a lot of talent and backing now. the next two seasons will be interesting at the very least

      1. I forgot to add, FOM invited Andretti to have a formal sit down on Dec 12th, to discuss the answers they gave and Andretti just didn’t show up. They literally could not stand up to preliminary questioning.

        It’s odd right? For how vocal they were about wanting a meeting, drafting a petition, passing from garage to garage, talking about feeling snubbed and you get an invitation, a golden ticket to walk straight into headquarters and to talk to the team responsible regarding your entry and you just don’t show up to make your big sales pitch.

        It’s almost like dealing with the fia is easier because the fia kind of has a financial incentive to increase the number of entries it can amass fees from (this is where the anticompetitive ruling comes from, nowhere else) as opposed to dealing with fom who actually pays out the monies

        interesting right?

      2. I forgot to add, FOM invited Andretti to have a formal sit down on Dec 12th, to discuss the answers they gave and Andretti snubbed them. It’s right there in the full report

        It’s odd right? For how vocal they were about wanting a meeting, drafting a petition, passing it from garage to garage, cornering team principals to sign it and about talking about feeling snubbed and you get a formal invitation, a golden ticket to walk straight into headquarters to make your big sales pitch and what? Cold feet? Technical difficulties? Car broke down? no business class flights?

        It’s almost like dealing with the fia is easier because it kind of has a financial incentive to increase the number of entries it can amass fees from (this is where the anticompetitive ruling comes from, nowhere else) as opposed to dealing with fom who actually pays out the monies

        why aren’t we talking about this part? pretty damning no?

        1. I also thought that was really strange. I hope somebody asks Andretti that question… You’d think they’d pull out all the stops.

          Andretti refuses to sit down with FOM to discuss F1 entry is worth a headline of its own and is hardly given a mention in the controversy of the news.

          1. We have no knowledge of the Andretti response to the FOM invitation:

            Having had the opportunity to consider the Applicant’s responses together with our own deliberations, we subsequently wrote to the Applicant on 12 December 2023 extending an invitation to an in-person meeting at our offices in order for the Applicant to present its application, but the Applicant did not take us up on this offer.

            “Did not take us up on the offer” could be a diplomatic description of a gruff “No” or a “I’m washing my hair that fortnight” or even ‘the sound of a feather falling’.

            Whatever the reaction to the offer of a meeting was, it has to be taken as matching the foolishness of not turning up to a second interview for a plum job. Perhaps Andretti will line up a GM PU for immediate use in a revised entry ready to hit the grid in 2028, the door looks to be part open.

        2. Firstly, on the business side of F1 – even from a purely business-only perspective (any business), it makes little sense to restrict the growth potential of the series in such a manner. Nobody ever thought less of F1 because one or more teams were slower or even failed to make the grid, never mind actually losing interest in consuming it altogether. This particular management decision, on the other hand, alienates just about everyone – except the existing teams.
          The only money being ‘lost’ by adding an 11th team is what would otherwise go to the existing teams – Liberty wouldn’t lose anything at all, in a strictly financial sense. What they would lose (from said existing teams) is the political power they get from their collective collusion to force through changes that would otherwise be rejected (such as sprint races). Make no mistake – the teams largely accept such changes primarily on the basis that Liberty has bought off that acceptance in the form of increased commercial payouts.

          If we accept that F1 is in a strong position now (financially, and in terms of consumer-baser growth) as you mention, then now is exactly the perfect time to add another team. And to have one with such a motorsports heritage and branding pedigree as Andretti, plus the long-term backing of GM (one of the largest automotive producers in the world)…. Seriously, they should be tripping over themselves to have this in F1.
          But if they did allow Andretti in (or any other team)…. Liberty loses face with the existing teams, and that costs them their own freedoms in the governance of F1’s commercial aspects. It’s not just about money, it’s about power.
          Liberty knows that teams don’t want what audiences want, and it’s far easier to persuade teams to be flexible than it is the greater public. And it’s this aspect which is most conflicting with this current decision – because the audience largely does want more teams, even if they aren’t massively competitive with existing frontrunners.

          The fact that Andretti is American only further supports their attractiveness to F1’s marketing aspects, given their continued push for increased US sports media market share and advertising revenue.

          As to the supposed declined invitation for a meeting between FOM and Andretti – I’d certainly like to see Andretti’s side of that before making any further judgements, as I can guarantee that what is written in the official FOM report is only the tip of a smarmy and largely dishonest iceberg.
          Given the context that Domenicali has always stated throughout this process that they didn’t want any more teams no matter who or what they were (unless a major (European) manufacturer happened to want to offload $1b in F1), anything they say is primarily to justify their pre-made decision (long before Dec 12) to reject the application.

          Remember – this was a media statement but out by Liberty Media. It will only ever express one side of the story – the side they want people to know and think is true.

      3. Well that was long winded,

      4. That was one of the hardest to read things ever.

      5. My scrolling finger hurts…

      6. What I take an issue with is why the commercial body has a say in what should be a sporting matter. This is a fundamental gripe I have with a lot of franchise based sports systems. Anyone who meets the FIA’s standards for an entry should, in my opinion, be allowed to enter. The Premier League doesn’t get to choose which teams play in it (with some minor exceptions e.g. around stadium capacity/facilities) – it’s decided by sporting merit. When the ESL tried to change this and adopt a more franchise-based system, there was (rightly) outrage.

        Until very recently, F1 has operated on a system of if you can meet the minimum FIA standards, then the commercial body has had very little say in the matter (from my understanding). Now, FOM and the teams appear to have unilaterally decided to change this model (from an outsider perspective), and as they’re (particularly FOM) currently in a bit of a power struggle with the FIA, this gives them an ideal opportunity to flex their muscles in said struggle.

        1. What I take an issue with is why the commercial body has a say in what should be a sporting matter.

          It’s only a sporting matter alone, if the body known as FOM is making no payments to competitors.

          Payments are scaled according to season end position in the table. Simply by being there, a team has an amount of money paid to them.
          It is therefore a business consideration.
          Of course, if a team was on track with no expectation of receiving any money, then it would indeed be purely a sporting matter.

        2. Chris McMillin
          2nd February 2024, 21:32

          Because it’s a show, like wrestling.

    2. F1 wants to play in America’s sandbox, but they don’t want to share the bucket and shovel. They’d much rather whine off the track about how great they are than race on it!

      1. Well the sandbox now stinks. The fat cats have pee’d all over it!

    3. @jjfrazz But they had an engine as Renault had agreed to supply them one.

      And while that initial agreement expired due to how long the application process took Renault confirmed a month ago they were still happy to supply them an engine.

      1. This is the interesting bit to me. Have Renault actually ‘agreed’ to supply engines happily, or was that agreement a result of their arms being forced by the guaranteed supply rule.

        The FOM statement seems to imply the latter. Either way it seems a bit silly applying to join the grid without a cast iron engine supply deal in place.

        Just to add that I am one of those that would like to have seen them join the grid.

        1. Have Renault actually ‘agreed’ to supply engines happily, or was that agreement a result of their arms being forced by the guaranteed supply rule.

          Renault not only agreed to supply Andretti prior to FOM coercing them to hook up with GM, Renault has stated several times in recent years that they are actually very keen on having an engine customer to offset their own costs and provide further data for development.
          It’s a win-win situation for both Renault and Andretti until such time as the GM engine is ready – and that relies on Andretti being on the grid already.

          The FOM statement is media garbage deliberately worded to make FOM seem like the good guys, and making Andretti out to be unprepared amateurs who would drag all of F1 down if granted entry.
          Take it for what it is – a power play, in part for Liberty to shove in the FIA’s face.

    4. You clown … they’ve had an engine deal for 2 years already.

      I suppose you believe a watch company manufactured an engine for RBR for one season, or that you’ve been watching an actual Alfa Romeo on the F1 grid for the last few seasons?

      Biased one-eyed naive child.

  2. Lapsed US F1 fan here.
    It has been difficult to get excited about F1 for years.
    You know by the third race – if not the first or second – which car is going to be unbeatable that year.
    Having the Andrettis in the field – first US F1 champ, ties to Lotus, ties to racing’s glory days – would have been a reason to at least check in.
    Instead, more of the boring same.

  3. Americans complaining about an American model of sports keeping Americans out is rich!

    1. FOM is not American. I’d bet my paycheck Liberty was fully onboard with the thought of Andretti Global cars on the grid.

  4. But are the teams and FOM wrong though? Would Andretti really be capable of anything else than being a backmarker if they do not have abig partnership with another team? Look at how difficult it is for Haas, a team that has been running Ferrari blueprints since they’ve entered F1.

    Andretti would enter in the last years of the rules, when all other teams have maximised development on the concept, they still have to start. Chances are slim of them not being Caterham/HRT/Marussia kind of backmarkers. For 2026 the FOM is still looking for major manufacturers to join, and likely hope Audi’s potential success will lure in others. It is still a big questionmark if when GM would start supplying their own PU’s, the fact they weren’t planning on doing so in 2026 gives them Honda-esque disadvantage for later years and I’d rank GM a tad lower on the knowledge scale compaired to Porsche, Toyota, Peugeot, etc.

    F1 has become too big and too costly to just let everyone with a good story have a go. F1 needs long term commitment, and an engine supplier that is willing to build their PU from 2026 and onwards. Not some halfassed project to eventually be a potential buy for other sketchy persons. I think that is their main concern. Having to deal with another Vijay Mallya in the future.

    1. Comparing Andretti/Cadillac/GM to Haas is a ridiculous statement to make.

      1. Comparing Andretti/Cadillac/GM to Haas is a ridiculous statement to make.

        The true comparison is Andretti/Renault
        Basically a noob team with what is acknowledged as the least powerful PU on the grid.

        Andretti/Cadillac in 2028 (when GM propose to have the engine ready) is a different question.
        It’s a question that FOM have indicated will be relevant in the future, but right now it’s a non-question.

  5. Does anyone in FOM remember epic failures of Lola, Life, Coloni, Andrea Moda, Eurobrun, Forti, and Pacific? All of these losers were allowed to race.

  6. But are the teams and FOM wrong though?

    Well, yes – in that other than the minor change in commercial payouts for which they would be compensated with the $200m anti-dilution fee, they wouldn’t suffer at all if Andretti was terrible.
    The teams would only suffer any other loss at all if Andretti beat them on the track, while Liberty sees only political issues in their relationships with the current teams.

    F1 has become too big and too costly to just let everyone with a good story have a go.

    I’d dispute that, as all a team really has to do is pass the FIA’s F1 entry requirements to be eligible to participate in every race.
    Haas and Williams (among others) have shown that it doesn’t take a great deal of money beyond F1’s own commercial payments to keep a team ticking along with enough performance to at least compete with other teams on track – if not the top teams on occasion.

    F1 does benefit somewhat from long term commitment – but if you aren’t even allowed to enter, how can that commitment be fostered? It’s not like Andretti is a virgin in the motorsports business, is it…
    What FOM have done is essentially tell any prospective future teams that they need to be better than the existing ones even without actually having entered yet, and also must provide a manufacturer brand themselves (because they always stay in F1 for a long time, don’t they…).

    I think that is their main concern. Having to deal with another Vijay Mallya in the future.

    I think I understand what you’re getting at here – but let’s remember that Mallya took his F1 team very seriously, spent more than the previous owner/s and took it up the grid for quite a number of years. He was arguably the best thing to happen to the team in a long time.
    His troubles inflict no damage on F1, nor on the team that he used to operate.
    Besides – in a business as large, media-driven and profit-focused as F1, such characters will always be present.

  7. Haas will probably fold soon after trading water for far too long and Andretti can buy in much more cheaply that way — best scenario for everyone IMO — Pity FOM is being such a Debbie Downer.

  8. I think the engine argument is credible and not totally unreasonable. The rest is hogwash.

  9. @david-br The engine argument is just as nonsense as the rest.

    Renault said they were happy to supply them with an engine and if an existing engine suppler is happy to supply them what business of Liberty’s is it to suggest it would be an extra strain on them.

    Should Sauber be refused an entry because Ferrari are having to give them a customer supply whike they wait for Audi?

    What about Aston Martin taking a customer Mercedes engine whike they wait for the Honda factory deal to kick in.

    Who supplies who with engines should be zero to do with the commercial rights holder as that should be purely a business arrangement between the team and engine supplier.

  10. Timothy Gilles
    2nd February 2024, 16:37

    I have watched F1, but stopped as there is no competition. After the first 5 to 10 laps the race is over. When you have a couple of teams that possibly can contend. But in the end you have 1 driver that runs every race, that’s boring. Also you talked about not enough money to go around, and trying to make it viable for all the current teams to get enough to compete. Maybe F1 should look at Indy car as you have favorites to when, but it’s seems they have more then 10 teams that have a great chance at winning every week.

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