Sprint race start, Formula 2, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2024

Andretti must work with or replace existing team to enter F2 or F3 – CEO

Formula 2

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The CEO of Formula 2 and Formula 3 says there isn’t room in either series for Andretti to enter as an additional team.

Andretti Global is seeking to enter Formula 1 and have also indicated an interest in joining its two feeder series. However Bruno Michel, who runs the two categories, sees no room to expand the current grids in either.

“For Formula 3, I think it’s completely out of the question to increase the number of cars,” he told media including RaceFans. “Thirty cars is already a lot and it’s a very good number.”

F3 is contested by 10 teams, each running three cars. Michel said it would be difficult to “find the proper number of drivers for the teams” if the grid expanded.

“The teams have to be able to find the drivers, which is not always an easy situation. For 30 drivers, even if all the categories under are pouring into Formula 3 – whether it’s Formula 4, Formula Regional – it’s still not an easy figure to arrive at.

“Then after that on the track, we know as well that at some point having too many cars is not very good for the racing, and also to have a consistent grid. So for Formula 3, there will not be additional cars.”

F2 has a smaller grid of 11 two-car teams, but although it had 26 cars when it was branded as GP2, Michel is not convinced the field should get any larger.

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“We used to be 26 cars in GP2, and then we went down to 20 and then we went up to 22. I’m quite happy with the figures we have at the moment, for several reasons.

Clement Novalak, Trident, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021
Report: 30-car Formula 3 grids “should not be allowed” on safety grounds, warns Russell
“Number one, same thing, it has to be viable for the teams and finding… 22 drivers with proper budgets is never an easy task. That’s the number one thing.

“Then also we need to look at how many seats will be available in Formula 1 as well and there shouldn’t be a point of having too many drivers in Formula 2 because at the end of the day some drivers won’t be to go up and it might be a little bit too difficult. So I would say that at the moment I’m not so inclined to increase the number of teams.”

However Michel said Andretti are welcome to submit an entry in order to be considered as a potential replacement for an existing team in either series.

“They can try to do a deal with an existing team, or they can apply, and if they apply there’s always a possibility that one team will not continue or one team will not have done the proper job and then in that case, they would have a chance to come in.”

He said he has had no formal approach from the American team, which already competes in IndyCar, Formula E and other categories, about joining F1’s feeder series.

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“I read, a few things on Andretti saying exactly the same thing, that they want join F2 and F3, but we haven’t been in contact, yet. Probably it will happen. I understood that Andretti was linking also that possible programs to a Formula 1 program, which at the moment is still not decided.

“Now, if Andretti wants to join F2 and F3, they have to go through the same process as everybody else, because that’s the way it’s working. We have a selection process every three years in both categories.

“The one in F2 happened last year, at the end of 2023, so the next one will be in three years’ time. For F3 the selection process is going to be this year. So if they want to join, they of course have to go through the process.

“I don’t know how it works in their strategy, because they also discussing the F1 possibility at the same time. So for me it’s something that is in the air, it’s not really concrete at the moment.”

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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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28 comments on “Andretti must work with or replace existing team to enter F2 or F3 – CEO”

  1. I think there is a good argument for saying someone shouldn’t be able to simply enter F1 as a new team, and that they need to have competed and performed well in F2 before being admitted to F1. However, if an outfit cannot get into F2 or F3 either, that makes it a bit tricky.

    1. I think that Indy is a little bit more serious championship than those junior series. Why should they over-complicate things? That’s bad for us, the fans. Delaying every interesting new thing indefinitely, always postponing, creating excuses… That’s good for their pockets, not us, so I’m 100% against.

    2. I don’t see the point Few teams jumped from F2 or whatever it was called into F1 and lasted. Jordan and Stewart (and Minardi for logentivity) being the successful exceptions of a rule that includes Coloni, Forti, Pacific which were all awful.

      Feeder series have nothing to do with F1, they don’t design chassis or anything, and the engine is a set formula. A successful F2 team would have to grow 10 times in size to compete in F1 and they’d still struggle. For a team with so much experience like Andretti It’s better to join F1 right away.

    3. Sorry, but that’s nonsense. F2 has nothing to do with F1 in terms of what the teams actually are.
      F1 is about racing car design and manufacturing, which F2 doesn’t do. You don’t create an F1 team by growing an F2 team. It’s a completely different thing.

  2. the reason f3 has 3 car teams was cited as not enough interest so move to 2 car teams and allow Andretti in it seems that f3 f2 and f1 don’t want them full stop and now with American congress getting involved this is one big can of worms

  3. As an outsider, it appears to me that Michael Andretti must have burned a few bridges.

    1. And he’s carrying a lighter in case he sees another unburned bridge still hanging.

    2. Mark in Florida
      3rd May 2024, 17:14

      (@ferrox-glideh) Andretti wasn’t even offered a bridge to burn down, so there is that. I guess being that he’s an American he should have brought his own bridge to burn down in protest. You can definitely say the hand of welcome has not been offered to Andretti. He’s coming with a serious plan to compete, yet even that isn’t good enough. The goal posts are constantly moving to keep him out. So IMHO F1 only wants American dollars just not our teams. So does that mean it’s still F1 or just F1u.

  4. It sounds like the same BS different day to me. Are F1, F2, an F3 all managed by the same clueless nitwits?

    1. Formula 2 is run by Formula Motorsport Limited, and the commercial rights are held by – surprise! – Formula One Group.

      Michel has definitely had a sip of whatever it was FOM was drinking when he says: “We need to look at how many seats will be available in Formula 1 as well and there shouldn’t be a point of having too many drivers in Formula 2 because at the end of the day some drivers won’t be to go up and it might be a little bit too difficult. So I would say that at the moment I’m not so inclined to increase the number of teams.”

      ‘Some drivers won’t be to go up’ is just a big LOL moment. In 2023, they had 25 drivers in the championship. How many were able to ‘go up’? Nobody. Not one. Sixth placed Oliver Bearman eventually subbed for Sainz, but that’s it. But okay, that’s only last year. How about 2022? They had 29 drivers in the championship. Just one! The GOAT Logan Sargeant. Liam Lawson had a few sub-appearances for Red Bull, and… that’s it. Back to 2021 then; again 29 drivers in the championship. How many to F1? Again… just one! Zhou Guanyu. Add Piastri if you want (he had no seats in ’22 but made his F1 debut in ’23).

      This excuse is really bad. In the last three years of F2 they’ve “produced” Sargeant, Zhou and Piastri as proper F1 hires.

      I know why Michel won’t admit it, but the truth is that most people in F2 are just spending other people’s money and doing this as a hobby. They will never sit in even a single F1 car. Almost none of them will race in F1. Fewer still will properly ‘go up’ and get hired full time. Is that bad? Not necessarily. F2 is a fine championship. What’s wrong is pretending it’s some sort of portal to F1. It’s not. But it brings in the cash, so everyone goes along with it.

  5. The headlline is a little unfair. Bruno Michel is saying that they are not going to increase the grid sizes in F3 and F2 (currently 30 and 22) to accommodate another team as he is happy with those numbers, and for good reason.

    The door is open for Andretti to submit an entry in case another team drops out, or to buy one of the existing teams.

    I do feel that Andretti is trying to strong-arm his way into F1 – announcing flaky engine deals, getting US politicians to weigh in etc.. When the easiest way to get into the sport would be through acquiring one of the existing licenses – I’m sure that half of the teams are for sale at the right price, and the funding to set up from scratch can’t be any different to the funding to start from nothing. But Michael appears to want to do things his way and only his way…

    1. If you’re talking about f2 teams, it should be easy for them to buy one, but if you’re talking about f1, no one wants to sell, they repeatedly said so, and even if they bought one, it wouldn’t solve the 20 cars problem, we need more teams, not stay at the bare minimum.

  6. Sounds to me like the only solution is to start a rival series to compete with Formula 1. Same type of cars, etc. Change the format a bit and off you go. Go to the same circuits as F1, just a week or 2 earlier. Solved.

    1. Now that I would like to see.

  7. Is F1 properly explaining the exclusion of Andretti? don’t think so.

    Looks clear to me that current F1 teams don’t want to share “the cake” with others and as a consequence, for someone, there’s no need to spend money for improving car performance, profit is already guaranteed.

  8. “Hi, Stefano, it’s Bruno. Some guy in the media just asked me about Andretti joining F2 and F3. Just confirming what I should tell them…”

  9. How much must Michael Andretti love European racing in order to keep dealing with these roadblocks? You’d think at some point he’d get the message and switch focus to off-road, NASCAR, yacht racing, or whatever instead of wasting time on F1,F2,F3.

  10. The argument about F2 doesn’t make sense to me. There’s physical space on the grid and more teams means more supply of seats, which means lower cost to drivers. It’s already prohibitively expensive, the authorities should want more opportunities for young drivers to develop! If the problem is there aren’t enough drivers with budget to make it sustainable, that suggests the series needs total reform to lower costs. There are certainly more than 22 drivers in the whole world with the talent to compete in the second tier of single seater racing.

    1. the authorities should want more opportunities for young drivers to develop!

      Develop for what, though? As noted above, barely one or two drivers out of a field of almost 30 get even a sniff of an F1 drive. Most languish in F2 for two or three seasons until their funding runs out. Some then make a side-step into sportscars, where most professional drivers end up anyway (it’s a numbers game, after all). F2 as a breeding ground for F1 is a vastly overstated claim, one that F2 is keen to push because it adds some of F1’s prestige and status to their series.

      Take the 2021 season for example, which is the last F2 season to have its champion end up in F1 (albeit a year delayed). Zhou and Piastri (eventually) went to F1. Verschoor and Fittipaldi are still in F2. Pourchaire, Lundgaard and Armstrong went to Indycar. Shwartzman (LMH) and Aitken (LMDh), Drugovich (LMP2), Viscaal (LMP2) and Caldwell (LMP2) went to prototype sportscar racing, in the WEC, IMSA and ELMS. Sato, Zendeli and Deledda ended up in lower ranked GT racing. Ticktum, Daruvala and Hughes went to Formula E, while Lawson, Vips, Boschung, Beckmann, Nissany, Doohan, Nannini and Samaia are currently not racing anywhere (two or three of those are reserve drivers in a single seater series).

      Michel is right that adding more drivers won’t make much sense if the point is to get people into F1. But that’s not the reality of the championship he’s running. That’s just the marketing slogan.

      1. And to add the three I missed: late season rookie Sargeant eventually made his way to F1 as well, Petecof is now in regional touring cars and Novalak is also in LMP2 in the ELMS.

        1. If only there were teams willing to enter F1 and provide more seats for F2 drivers to graduate into…

          1. If only there were teams willing to enter F1 and provide more seats for F2 drivers to graduate into…

            and turned up with a package that wasn’t powered by vapourware.
            Go on, tell me how the GM PU that MA has told the congress people about is going to blast the car down the track in 2026.

            FOM suggested he apply for entry to the grid for 2028, when coincidentally, or not, the GM Cadillac badged PU is due to be ready.

          2. You seem fixated on when GM supply an engine to Andretti, SteveP – but that is entirely separate to the race team that Andretti plan to operate. It’s no different to Red Bull or McLaren, or most others in F1 operating as engine customers.
            Not only do F1’s rules allow for an engine supply to every team at all times, Andretti have already had support from Renault to supply them even outside of that regulation. Renault have consistently stated for many years that they want a customer team, and were one of only two teams in F1 to support Andretti’s entry (the other being McLaren).

            If you think the only ‘value’ Andretti’s team would add to F1 is the brand of sticker on their engine, I’m not sure what you watch motorsport for.
            Can only presume you are a shareholder of another team..?

      2. Ok, but to play Devil’s advocate: where have new F1 drivers come from, other than F2 in the last 5 years?

  11. It should be easier for Andretti to buy their way into F2 and F3. That doesn’t guarantee they will get favorability in a F1 slot though. I will point out Rodin has bought their way into F2/F3 through the Carlin team and they also applied for a slot on the F1 grid and were denied just like Andretti was.

    1. But then, Rodin wasn’t already an elite-level race team with decades of international motorsport experience and marketing pull.
      Buying into an existing operation was by far their best means to get in.

      I mean, who had even heard of them before their partnership with Carlin? Not many people outside of NZ…
      And not many even in NZ, for that matter.

  12. What the hell.

    Not allowed in F1, barred from F2, F3..

    Not lookung good for FIA.

    1. The FIA have allowed Andretti into F1 as a competitor, on equal terms as all other teams.
      Liberty and the existing teams are Andretti’s problem, however, as they control who makes money and has access to F1 media.

      In this case:
      FIA = good.
      FOM = bad.

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