Times are turbulent in the Formula 1 circus, as Michael Andretti’s bid to join the grid with General Motors and Cadillac has received veiled opposition from other teams.
Less than impressed, and perhaps slightly surprised by this opposition, the American driver turned team-owner has had his say. “It’s all about money,” Andretti told Forbes. “First, they think they are going to get diluted one-tenth of their prize money, but they also get very greedy thinking we will take all the American sponsors as well.”
“It’s all about greed and looking at themselves and not looking at what is best for the overall growth of the series,” added Andretti.
The significant opposition to the all-American bid is due to concerns over the dilution of prize money, should a whole new team enter the paddock. However, Andretti insists that bringing in a manufacturer as large as General Motors would bring in enough money to resolve the dilution situation.
“We check all the boxes,” said Andretti, adding that “The only box we didn’t have checked when we were working on our entry was, we didn’t have an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) behind us, but now we have GM and Cadillac behind us. They are going to bring a lot to the party to help us get a race car on track.”
The dispute within the F1 circus, could well have remained behind closed doors, but FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem took to Twitter to express his own surprise towards the adverse reaction that we now know Andretti’s bid has received.
With no previous public record of opposition to the bid, Ben Sulayem has provided a window into the latest in a series of disagreements between the FIA, F1 and the teams that have marked his tenure since he took to the helm of the governing body at the end of 2021.
Andretti said he has support, though, from well established teams that already exist on the grid in the form of McLaren and Renault-owned Alpine.
Compatriot and McLaren Racing CEO, Zac Brown is said to have been particularly supportive. “Zak has been a great friend and ally. He gives me advice and is there to help. We help each other. I’ve been helping him a lot when he came to IndyCar racing. It’s a friendship that works both ways,” said Andretti.
The name Andretti is not new to F1, as both Michael and his father Mario Andretti once raced in the championship themselves. Michael is the last American to score points in the series, but his father has an admittedly more impressive racing career, as Mario Andretti is one of only three drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, the World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR.
A strong businessman nevertheless, Michael Andretti currently owns teams that compete in IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E. With the backing of giants GM, Andretti may just find himself with a seat at the F1 table, but not without ruffling a few feathers first.
PHOTO: Michael Andretti Reuters