Sunday, March 26, 2023

Michael Andretti Applies to FIA for 2024 F1 Team Entry

Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Michael Andretti has not given up on his pursuit of team ownership in Formula 1, according to a social media post from his father, Mario Andretti, on Friday.

Mario Andretti revealed his son has filed for an application with the FIA, the governing body of F1, to enter Andretti Global for the 2024 season.

This is the latest attempt at getting on the grid in F1 for Michael Andretti, who has built a racing empire as team owner for Andretti Autosport which fields teams in the NTT IndyCar Series, along with Extreme E, Formula E, IMSA, Indy Lights, Supercars and Super Copa. He previously attempted to buy a majority stake into Alfa Romeo, but the deal fell apart in October when main shareholder Finn Rausing refused to sell. At the time, Andretti was targeting 21-year-old Colton Herta, who drives the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda for his team in IndyCar, as a candidate for an F1 seat when it appeared to be a likely acquisition.

Currently, though, Herta has not acquired enough points to be eligible to apply for an FIA Super License required to compete in F1. However, that could very well become a non-factor by 2024 should he remain a target for Andretti’s potential F1 team.

If approved, Andretti Global would become the 11th team in F1, which would bring the field size to 22 cars. The last team to enter the sport was Haas F1 in 2016, which is owned by American businessman Gene Haas, who also shares ownership of Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

In a Friday interview with the Indianapolis Star, Mario Andretti shared that the proposed team would be based in England, but also have a facility near its shops in Indianapolis. Additionally, he admitted an engine deal has been secured but would not go into further details as to which manufacturer.

While there is a cost cap to help the health of current teams in F1, the hurdle that Andretti, who drove for McLaren’s F1 team in 1993, could face is having to pay a $200 million entry fee by virtue of the Concorde Agreement, which was singed halfway through the 2020 season by each team. However, there is a possibility it could be waived.

Although variety of factors work in Michael Andretti’s favor this time around, one that cannot be overlooked is the rising interest from American fans in F1, which is likely aided by the “Drive to Survive” on Netflix. There are also two races on American soil in 2022, with events in both Texas and Florida. The United States Grand Prix, set for October 23, recently received a healthy extension to remain at Circuit of The Americas though 2026, while the Miami Grand Prix will kickstart its inaugural race on May 8.

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