Miami Gardens, Fla. ( Associated Press) — Michael Andretti was literally going door-to-door through the Formula One paddock. He wants to join the most elite club in motorsport and felt his best shot was to plead his case with the current team owners.
Andretti carried a white Miami Dolphins folder with him – he said he borrowed it from promoters of last weekend’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix – and inside was a piece of paper linking Andretti Global to 10 current F1 team leaders. was asking to support. net.
By the time he got to the end of the paddock, Andretti’s prospects seemed dire. He left his conversation with Red Bull principal Christian Horner – held at the outdoor, open area of Red Bull Hospitality – with only two signatures. Horner did not sign.
Andretti didn’t even bother to move to Mercedes next door, where boss Toto Wolff has left no stone unturned in his opposition to linking teams because he believes it will reduce profits for those on the grid.
Andretti was disappointed but did not give up. By the time Sunday’s race started, he was feeling much better about his chances of returning the Andretti name to F1.
Andretti told The Associated Press he had an encouraging meeting with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. He said the same thing to the new FIA president, Mohamed Ben Sulayem, when he spoke before the race.
“We finally have some direction,” Andretti told the Associated Press. “This is the first time we have been instructed to do so.”
Just when it looked like Andretti had no shot at cracking the country club—there’s a $200 million buy-in fee—he was given hope. It must have been encouraging that Sulayem, who was elected head of F1’s governing body in December, not only recognized Andretti, but also stopped leaning in his ear for an exchange in which Sulayem did most of the talking.
Andretti’s attempt to field an American team F1’s first race was discussed in Miami. The North American market has finally embraced the series – Sunday’s race on ABC was the most-watched live F1 race in US history – And Andretti want to expand the famous racing name.
Mario Andretti, Michael’s father, is the 1978 F1 champion and one of the greatest drivers in motorsport history. But there has been no American driver in F1 since Alexander Rossi in 2015. The only current American team is Haas F1, owned by California businessman Gene Haas, which is partly headquartered in North Carolina but does not employ any American drivers.
Michael Andretti, who spent the 1993 season commuting from the US to Europe to drive for McLaren in F1, wants California-based IndyCar driver Colton Herta in his seat.
Andretti says he is committed to a true effort, and argues that an American team with an American driver can only add to F1’s financial value. He added that Andretti’s involvement would help all current teams get North American sponsorship.
Wolff has yet to see any benefit to anyone expanding the grid and estimates that F1’s currently successful teams have “put into Formula 1 projects more than a billion over the years.”
“We have 10 entries today, we split the prize money among those 10 entries,” Wolff said. “If a team comes in, how can you show that you’re bringing in more money than you’re actually costing? The 11th team means a 10% dilution for everyone else. So, if one is able to demonstrate that , then we should all sit at the table and cheer for such an entry. But it hasn’t appeared yet.”
McLaren Racing chief Zak Brown joins Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi as the only F1 team leader to sign Andretti’s form in Miami. Brown, a Californian, has a long relationship with Andretis and announced on Tuesday that it would allow Mario Andretti to drive a McLaren F1 car at the US Grand Prix in October.
He believes Andretti Global will be an advantage.
“A very reliable racing team with a reliable brand, with the right resources, I think is additive to the sport,” Brown said. “It looks like that’s what Michael put together. So, on that basis we’re supporting.”
Rossi said he believes an American team “goes with expansion in America”. Schedule.
“An American team will directly generate interest in America, and therefore, revenue,” Rossi said. “We need to demonstrate that this is enough to compensate for the dilution that Toto was referring to. Courageous spirit? I think he will.”
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