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Andretti F1 project would require $1bn war chest, warns Wolff

NEWS STORY
23/02/2022

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff has warned Michael Andretti that if he is serious about entering F1 he will require a war chest of around $1bn.

Last weekend, motorsport legend, Mario Andretti revealed that his son, Michael has approached the FIA with a view to entering F1 in 2024.

At a time the sport is said to be booming, certainly in terms of viewer numbers and social media followers, a new team is what F1's owners have been calling for, especially if it is American.

However, despite the budget cap, F1 remains a sport of haves and have nots, and if Andretti is to avoid the sort of backmarker fate that has befallen countryman Gene Haas, Toto Wolff warns that the American must come to the table with significant funding.

"Andretti is a name, that's for sure," Wolff told reporters at Barcelona, "and the American market is important.

"Every team that is joining needs to add value," added the Austrian, who is now officially resident in Monaco. "It's not only by paying a $200m entry fee but it needs to demonstrate, in my opinion, what it can do for all the other teams and for Formula 1 and the FIA. Only then the sport will grow.

"We are the absolute pinnacle," he said, "this is the Champions League, the NFL... and redistributing franchises on the go is not how it should be. It's not the intention of F1 and the FIA either.

"But if a real brand with good people, necessary funding, with, not only the $200m but probably you need more around $1bn, if you want to play in this club straight from the get-go... then why not?"

For once, the Austrian's views were shared by Christian Horner.

"It's great that there is the interest for people wanting to enter Formula 1," said the Red Bull boss. "The Andretti name is certainly a powerful name in motorsport, and they're not the only ones making noises about coming in.

"But there is a clear criteria through the Concorde Agreement that has to be met and approved," he warned. "I'm sure they are engaged in that process. That agreement is there to protect the ten incumbents and not to dilute that. So that would need to be carefully looked at."

Dilute seems to be one of the buzz words in the paddock at present. Indeed, at a time team bosses fear that adding more races to the calendar may well dilute the sport, citing quantity over quality, it would appear that F1 bosses are strictly controlling the value of the Barcelona test, no doubt for fear of diluting interest in the 'official' test in Bahrain next month, for which they will have been paid handsomely.

Check out our Wednesday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 24/02/2022 17:25

"I think the main reason $1B USD is needed is as @editor says, not just the setup but the first few years running and development costs.
HAAS (will they be racing this year if sanctions kick in?) have shown how getting going can be done however even that would have cost a lot of money.
$1B over 5 years isn't much.
Back in 1999 - 2000 Toyota spent about half that, non inflation adjusted for their first year and did not compete.
They then spent about $500 per year while competing, a small percentage of their then marketing budget I read somewhere.
Prototype series certainly cost a hell of a lot to be in let alone compete in.

Oh yes, for those that have "dissed" Wolff for his comments, he may not have the name recognition of Andretti, however statistically he is the most successful team boss / owner / principle in F1 at the moment.

I hope that Andretti can make a good go of F1 however without buying an existing team, it will be tricky."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Superbird70, 24/02/2022 16:18

"@Editor- Maybe when Toto is talking $1 bn he is thinking of starting from scratch in England, buying the land , putting up walls , running water etc., and hiring all new staff. Inflated , yes. It would be difficult doing everything in the USA, and being successful. Although with the right sponsor it might not matter."

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3. Posted by Editor, 24/02/2022 14:08

"@ MontrealF1

Your comment regarding Mario is utter rubbish.

He "only" won the title because of Ronnie's death?

All else aside, Ronnie was number 2 - a deserved number 1 - but emlployed as number 2. And like Gilles with Scheckter he obeyed team orders... no multi-21 for them."

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4. Posted by MontrealF1, 24/02/2022 14:04

"An
dretti meaning more than Wolff as in Mike being canned by McLaren and Mario winning his Only F1title because of the tragic death of Ronnie Peterson?????"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Editor, 24/02/2022 12:55

"Wolff saying that a new team owner needs to invest $1bn is interesting as he has a vested interest. He is looking to sell more of his shares in his own team and if it is widely know that a new team costs $1bn (which is not correct) it will drive up the price of his shares in Mercedes.

Think about it - the cap is $140m and the bond is $200m. Teams are supposedly meant to make a profit under the new regs so in theory why would a team owner need to put in more than $340m?

Let's say they have reserves in the bank to cover two or three years (which is very very rare for any start-up company) that would still only come to at most $620m and that's assuming the team makes Zero revenue from either prize money or sponsors which is certainly not meant to happen under the new regs."

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6. Posted by itc, 24/02/2022 12:46

"Of course Andretti may very soon get the opportunity to buy Haas on the cheap, seeing how they are as good as owned by a Russian oligarch. Nothing Toto can do if the US government insists on removing the main sponsor or even confiscates the team and looks for a new American owner. "

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7. Posted by Great_white_shark, 24/02/2022 2:49

"It is insane what a title can do to sway people's opinion a certain way. According to the comments it sounds like they took offence at the quote but if they bothered to read the whole article they would understand and see that it is a sensible opinion from someone far more educated on the topic than they are. Perhaps they forget Toto comes from a racing background and he certainly knows his stuff. I can assure you he is familiar with the Andretti name and he meant it when he praised it.

What is there to be so upset about? "

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8. Posted by Egalitarian, 24/02/2022 0:08

"@kenji - thanks. So, you're suggesting that people should be listening to what Toto/Christian actually have to say, rather than just complain about who it is saying it? If so, I would agree."

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9. Posted by kenji, 23/02/2022 23:27

"@ Egalitarian...Ad hominem attacks are the sign of weakness and an inability to debate various opposing opinions."

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10. Posted by Egalitarian, 23/02/2022 21:52

"@Defiant - I agree with what you say. People ask questions. People answer them. The answer is reported. Suddenly it is interpreted as an unsolicited opinion. At least you aren't coming across as a hater or one prepared to put words into others' mouths (speaking of which, it feels a little more civil and less fanboi-like on here this past week...?) It seems you have at least considered a few things so I am interested in your viewpoint.
Cheers"

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11. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 23/02/2022 20:54

"That's because Mercedes will require a fee of $500m to allow Andretti to compete."

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12. Posted by Burton, 23/02/2022 19:04

"I'd take the Andrettis over Jim Ratcliffe any day of the week."

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13. Posted by jo6pac, 23/02/2022 18:32

"Dear toto I'm sure the A team has done their home work."

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14. Posted by Lapps, 23/02/2022 18:27

"Toto seems to be running scared at the very thought of competing with the Andretti organisation. Isn’t F1 supposed to be a sport, not a comfortable club for the 10 current entrants? Or am I wrong? Surely the fans are the ones who (directly or indirectly) provide ALL the lovely cash he seems to see as the prime goal; and you know what we want!"

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15. Posted by Defiant, 23/02/2022 17:48

"@Beans, unfortunately legacy media keep asking him for it. Christian too.

Having said that, neither of them are wrong on this occasion are they!

1B is probably a realistic number. That is the sickening part, and this is why F1 is worse for it.

In years gone by, the teams where plentiful, the innovation was incredible and for the fans, the sports entertainment was amazing. This was the biggest draw to F1. Now we have a manufactured entertainment production operating under a ridiculous amount of guidelines .
The unfortunate side affect of the more and more lengthy rule book the FIA has created, is that it's stifled the way problems are solved.
It now takes vast resources to gain such small amounts within such a tight framework. When years ago, they'd add an extra steering axle, or a fan, or a V10 instead of a V12 etc etc.

oh hang on, excuse me, I'll just get off my soap box, nobody cares 🤣🤣🤣 "

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