"It's all about money," says Andretti


Michael Andretti hits out at continued resistance to his bid to join the F1 club, claiming the teams only care about themselves and not the long-term interests of the sport.

Just days after F1's lukewarm reaction to the announcement that he is teaming up with Cadillac in a bid to enter the sport, the American team-owner has come out all guns blazing.

At a time it is claimed the teams are seeking a dilution payment of as much as $600m - up from the previously agreed $200m - Andretti pulls no punches.

"It's all about money," he tells 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."

Asked about (FIA president) Mohammed ben Sulayem's comments, which appear in stark opposition to the attitude being shown by the sport's owners, he admits: "I'm not surprised. In Formula 1, the owners look out for themselves; not what is best for the series. That is the difference between president Mohammed's position and the team owner's position. President Mohammed is looking out for the future of the sport. It is an FIA championship, and it holds most of the cards to get the expression of interest going."

Referring to claims that Cadillac's involvement in the project would be purely financial, nothing more than what he calls a "badging exercise", Andretti insists "we're bringing one of the biggest manufacturers in the world".

"Cadillac will be very much involved in the manufacturing of the car," he continues. "If we get in, in 2025, there won't be a new engine yet, so we would have to go with a formula that is used now, but in 2026 there are various things we can do with another engine manufacturer.

"It would not be a badged engine," he insists, "because there would be intellectual property from Cadillac in that engine, so that is not a badged engine."

While Reuters claims that a "senior team source" says the chances of Andretti's bid to renter the sport being accepted remain "highly unlikely" and that a "strong majority" of teams are opposed to expanding the grid, the American says he has the support of at least two teams, McLaren and Alpine.

"Zak (Brown) wants to do whatever he can to help us get there and so has Alpine as well," says Andretti. "Zak Brown and Alpine are two very good allies. Zak has been very 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 since he came to IndyCar racing. It's a friendship that works both ways."

"Our end goal is to be competing for the world championship five or six years down the road," he insists. "We want to be competing and race against the best in the world.

"We aren't underestimating that it will be a long, building process," he admits, "but we have a good plan to eventually get us there.

"You have to stay focused on your job and not listen to the naysayers. I actually use the naysayers as motivation. It's always fun to shut them up."

Another objection the teams are said to have to Andretti is his desire to have the saga played out in public, but then again, when it comes to airing grievances in the full glare of the media spotlight, the likes of one of his main objectors, Toto Wolff, is hardly what one would describe as a shrinking violet.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 11/01/2023
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