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Wolff's criticism "disrespectful", says Andretti

NEWS STORY
09/06/2022

Mario Andretti has said that Toto Wolff's criticism of his son's bid to enter F1 is "disrespectful", insisting the Mercedes boss has no reason to look down on the proposed entry.

Despite losing out on its bid to purchase the Sauber operation, Michael Andretti is continuing with his dream of entering F1.

The American faces many challenges, not least the so-called $200m anti-dilution payment aimed at protecting the financial interests of the existing teams.

Despite assurances that almost everything is in place for his entry, Andretti has been surprised at the level of resistance from a number of the existing teams, not least Mercedes.

Speaking in Miami, Toto Wolff said: "I'm sure that if we have a true American team, with an American driver, that would be very beneficial.

"But, we have had 10 entries today, we divide the prize fund among those 10 entries. We have invested considerable amounts over the last 10 years. Each of the organisations that's sitting here on the podium has probably put more than a billion into the Formula 1 projects over the years, so it needs to be accretive.

"If a team comes in, how can you demonstrate that you're bringing in more money than it's actually costing," he continued, "because then 11th team means a 10 per cent dilution for everybody else.

"So, if one is able to demonstrate that, then we should all be sitting on the table, and cheer for such an entry. But that hasn't been demonstrated yet. And that may sound a bit dry, because it comes down to the numbers, but the value of Formula 1 is that it's a limited amount of franchises. And we don't want to dilute that value by just adding teams."

While the likes of Ferrari have echoed Wolff's thoughts, others appear far more welcoming.

Nonetheless, it is Wolff's attitude that has riled Andretti's father, the legendary Mario Andretti.

"Toto Wolff has spoken very openly about our credibility," the American tells Auto Motor und Sport. "However, he speaks to me in a different way.

"I find the criticism very disrespectful," he adds, "because we have been active in motorsport much longer than he has. I respect his success so far, but he has no reason to look down on us.

"The FIA is very open to us and we have fulfilled all the requirements," he says of talks with the sport's governing body. "Now we are waiting for them to give us a number, what it costs to pay the teams to let us in. We know it's in the $200 million range. Now they may want more, but we're still waiting for feedback. It's bordering on usury.

"It would be different with Bernie," he adds, "Liberty gives the teams too much say."

Asked about the anticipated competitiveness of his team, what with the numerous efforts, including the likes of Toyota and BMW that have failed in the past, Andretti says: "They always ask how we want to be competitive... I say, let that be our problem! You don't know our preparations.

"We don't need to sign any new people at all, we have absolutely experienced people who have the necessary knowledge. On the financial side, we have credible partners who are aware of the size of the project. We've been planning for a long time with our programme because it's everything we want.

"We deserve more respect."

Indeed.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by jcr, 10/06/2022 21:31

"@Superbird
Some interesting comments here, not to mention, Virgin and Manor,
All choose to forget that the last influx of teams, Virgin, Manor, Caterham ect, were all enticed into the sport under the promise of Max Mosleys cost cap, and affordable engine. None of which came to be.
I for one was surprised there was no legal follow up when the cost cap failed to materialise.
Now that the FIA have got the cost cap in place, it seems the teams are now dictating !!
IMO, The clowns now running the circus."

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2. Posted by prime, 10/06/2022 7:06

"wait.. F1 has worked very hard to make the sport affordable for new and existing teams with a small budget, and now a rich guy who inherited a successful team is trying to block new entries."

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3. Posted by prime, 10/06/2022 6:55

"Totto is a selfish pig, end of story."

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4. Posted by Rock Doc, 10/06/2022 3:09

"I'd love to see what Andretti could bring. Fresh blood is always good for a sport.

With the cost cap looking like it might begin to bite I'm thinking that teams will begin to shed staff. Another team would be only too happy to take some experienced staff and give them another chance."

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5. Posted by Superbird70, 10/06/2022 0:09

"To have 24 cars on track they need to be smaller. Andretti has been pretty successful in what are essentialy spec. series. It wil be interesting to see how they will do in series where constant innovation is required. We don't need another Virgin or Manor."

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6. Posted by kenji, 09/06/2022 23:45

"I guess that Mercedes have more than enough on their plate than to have another competitor to face on the track. I would love to see a max of 24 cars on the track but there are limits especially when one witnesses the level of congestion at some tracks, especially during quali. That can be overcome by changing the format into two parts with a max of 12 cars on track at any time. Andretti would be, prima facie, a great competitor and they should be welcomed into the series."

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7. Posted by Mad Matt, 09/06/2022 18:48

"Given the queuing and impeding we see I'd say 20 is almost too many.....

Personally I'd like to see 22, or even 24 but not much more."

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8. Posted by The Canadian, 09/06/2022 18:12

"Not mention, the world's premiere racing series can only field about 20 cars on any given Sunday these days. It's a joke. There should be many more on the grid. "

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