Andretti pondering F1 move?

23/08/2021
NEWS STORY

Michael Andretti has revealed that he has talked with a number of F1 teams with a view to entering the sport.

Son of the legendary 1978 Formula One World Champion, Mario Andretti, Michael's own F1 venture never lived up to expectations, the American parting company with McLaren by mutual agreement with three rounds of the 1993 season remaining.

Returning to CART in 1994, in 2001 he bought Team Green for which he raced before effectively retiring at the end of 2002 to concentrate on running his new venture which switched to the rival IndyCar series in 2003.

Since then, Andretti Autosport, as it eventually came to be known, has won four IndyCar titles and claimed victory in the Indy 500 five times.

Other than IndyCar, Andretti has branched out into other disciplines including Indy Lights, Formula E, Extreme E and Supercars in Australia, in partnership with Zak Brown's United Autosports.

Speaking to RACER, Andretti has said that a move to F1 is possible.

"It would be great, but there's a long way to go if it were to happen," he is quoted as saying. "If the right opportunity comes up, we'll be all over it. But we're not there yet."

It's understood that other than Haas, Andretti has held talks with Alfa Romeo and Williams, both of which are currently owned by private equity companies.

By purchasing an existing team, Andretti would circumvent the new rule by which new entrants pay a $200m entry fee before they can join the sport, said money being divided amongst the existing teams in a bid to soften the blow of the prize money pot being diluted by a new arrival.

Behind the scenes, Gene Haas has made no secret of his willingness to sell out for the right price, however with Nikita Mazepin's failure to impress it is unlikely that the Russian's father will be keen to take on the project.

A bid for Alfa Romeo would probably include the Sauber Engineering company, and while more costly than Haas, this would include the Swiss team's design facility and its wind tunnel.

F1 owners, Liberty Media, have made no secret of their desire to see more American involvement in F1, and the Andretti name back on the grid would be well received as the sport looks to gain a stronger foothold in the US.

Intriguingly, the Andretti Acquisition Company, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), has been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in a bid to raise $250m, public documents revealing that the company will "focus on opportunities that can benefit from the iconic Andretti brand name, both inside and outside of the worldwide motorsports platform and the expertise and ability of our management team to identify, acquire and grow a business in the broadly-defined automotive industry".

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Published: 23/08/2021
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