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Ben Sulayem supports Andretti F1 bid

NEWS STORY
07/05/2022

As he seeks to enter F1, Michael Andretti says he has the support of FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, while Mario Andretti insists that the project has what is needed to enter the sport.

Other than the 'will they, won't they' saga, that is the Volkswagen brands Porsche and Audi, the other ongoing question mark over the sport moving forward is whether Michael Andretti is to enter with his own team.

As the Miami weekend got underway, Andretti met with Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and according to the IndyCar champion turned team owner, the FIA president is in support of the project.

"I think he's in support," said Andretti, "but there's a big process that's got to go through and all that stuff.

"He said he's in support in the process," he added. "There's still a long way to go but it's nice, Mohammed liked what we presented. I don't want to say too much, they don't want to talk about it too much, but positive things.

"We're spending money to get the ball rolling," he continued, "because we feel like we're hopefully going to get it. We're taking a risk, but we think it's worth the risk because we've got to get the ball rolling, so we're hiring people and things like that."

Justifying the sport's need for a new team he said: "Ten teams is not the right number. If you really think about it, they've got the Concorde Agreement coming up in '25.

"Now, Red Bull owns two teams, if they say they're pulling out, now you've got 16 cars. You can't have a race with 16 cars, you can have a race with 18 cars.

"To me, it gives them way more leverage with the teams by having extra teams," he added.

"Millions of people are embracing it," he said of his project, which is understood not to have the full support of all the existing teams and manufacturers. "It's just not the right people at the moment."

His father, the legendary Mario Andretti, insists that almost everything is in place already, including the $300m fee payable in respect of 'anti-dilution' compensation for the existing teams.

"We have what we need," said the 1978 world champion. "There's a cost to entering as well, and we're obviously going to be ready to meet that.

"There's many aspects to this," he continued, "but I think, what I feel we have presented, what we're bringing to the table, I think should be palatable.

"The teams have some say about it, for sure," he added. "There's going to be a huge investment that should be welcomed into any company, and for the long term.

"We don't have any outside interests per se as Andrettis, that's what we live on, that's what we have and we will continue to do so.

"This is the pinnacle of the sport, I always say this, the Olympics of motorsport, and we, Michael, wants to be part of it.

"There's a process that we're respecting. I keep saying we're trying to check all the boxes that are expected for us to be checking, and the objective is to be there, to be on the grid, in 2024."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Miami, here.

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