Andretti: Carrying on regardless


Despite no indication of a decision on its proposed entry to F1 coming anytime soon, Andretti continues to plan for a thumbs up from the commercial rights holder.

While the FIA has given the American team the green light, the final decision will be made by Formula One Management (FOM), which, along with the majority of the existing teams, has already (repeatedly) made clear that it is against the move.

Undaunted, Andretti continues and in addition to recruiting more staff has already been running a car in its windtunnel.

"It's a team that wants to do it properly and wants to win," Nick Chester tells The Athletic. "You don't want to be anywhere that doesn't have that ethos.

"As I started, before I joined, the resource behind it, the effort that was going to go behind it to make it win, just made it very, very attractive," adds the former Renault veteran who first entered the sport with Simtek before joining Arrows where he was performance engineer to Damon Hill. Joining Benetton in 2000, he replaced James Allison as technical director in 2013, before finally leaving Enstone in 2020.

"We've had people joining from Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren," he confirms. "They all wanted a new challenge. It's that real potential to shape departments which is very attractive."

While F1 and the teams remain steadfast in their objection to Andretti, the partnership with General Motors courtesy of Cadillac has somewhat complicated matters.

"We wouldn't have got half of what we've got done now without GM's involvement," says Chester. "It's not an arrangement where you throw things backwards and forwards, it's much more like one team. It's getting really nicely integrated.

If everybody knows you're just pushing on, then everybody's focusing on their own areas, trying to generate as much performance as they can," he adds. "That generates a great atmosphere, so that's the way we've gone about it."

Though it was hoped to enter as early as next year, Michael Andretti admits that 2026 appears far more feasible.

"Time is always of the essence in F1," he says. "We've been working as fast as we possibly can to ensure we have as competitive a car and as strong a team as possible when we do take our place on the grid.

"As Mohammed (ben Sulayem) has said a number of times, the benefits we will bring to the sport and the championship are so obvious," he adds. "I can't imagine anyone would want to try to stop us, and deprive racing fans of the opportunity to see a genuine American works team going head-to-head with the legendary names currently competing in F1."

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Published: 30/01/2024
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