Do Andretti finally have what they need to enter F1? 

There is fresh confidence surrounding Andretti’s latest F1 bid, so will it be a case of second time lucky for the iconic American outfit? 
Michael Andretti (USA). Formula 1 World
Michael Andretti (USA). Formula 1 World

Team owner Michael Andretti and his legendary father, Mario, have long been lobbying F1’s governing body, the FIA, to expand the grid amid their interest in pursuing an entry.  

Andretti unsuccessfully tried to join the F1 grid in 2021 when a buyout of the Sauber team collapsed at the 11th hour due to last-minute “control issues”. 

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Following the failed first attempt, Andretti have launched another bid. This time, they have joined forces with US car giant General Motors, revealing plans for an “all-American team” on Thursday. 

If successful, the team would run under the Andretti Cadillac Racing banner and would operate chiefly from the new Andretti Global headquarters in Indiana, which is set to open in 2025. A support facility would also be housed in the UK. 

Do Andretti finally have what they need to enter F1? 

GM president Mark Reuss revealed agreement has already been struck with an existing F1 engine manufacturer over an initial power unit supply but added the company is planning to use “our expertise to create things for the future as well.”

Intriguingly, the news was conspicuously absent from the official F1 website, hinting at possible tension behind-the-scenes between the FIA and F1 over Andretti’s entry. 

Indeed, F1 issued a swift (and rather tepid) statement in response to Andretti’s announcement which served as a reminder that any interested party must meet all required criteria - including paying a $200m entry fee - and have “the agreement of both F1 and the FIA.”

The proposal was met with a warmer response from FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who earlier this week outlined he was planning to launch a formal process for expressions of interest for prospective new teams in F1. 

(L to R): Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President with Michael Andretti (USA) on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship,
(L to R): Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President with Michael Andretti …

"I welcome the news of the Cadillac and Andretti partnership and the FIA looks forward to further discussions on the FIA F1 World Championship expressions of interest process,” Ben Sulayem wrote on Twitter. 

Andretti’s place on the grid is by no means guaranteed, and understands that an entry would not happen until 2026 at the earliest, when the sport introduces a new engine formula. 

Despite Andretti’s rich motorsport heritage, scepticism has previously been raised about their potential entry, and whether they would add value to F1, with Alpine and McLaren the only current teams to express positive views. 

But now that Andretti are teaming up with the biggest car maker in the US, they are bringing a far more compelling case to the table, and in doing so, are also meeting F1’s desire for new manufacturers to join the world championship. 

"One of the big things was 'what does Andretti bring to the party?’,” said Andretti, who acknowledged he would have “absolutely” continued to face resistance without Cadillac’s involvement. 

“Well, we're bringing one of the biggest manufacturers in the world now with General Motors and Cadillac.

"We feel that that was the one box we didn't have checked that we do have checked now.

"We've put in a tremendous amount of support to F1 and it's hard for anyone to argue that now.”

Do Andretti finally have what they need to enter F1? 

Andretti said he is now “1000%” convinced he has a serious chance of joining the F1 grid. 

“We feel very confident that once the expression of interest goes out, especially having our great partnership with Cadillac, that we have a very very good shot at checking every box,” he said. 

“I feel like we’re definitely ahead of our competition to get there. I feel very very confident that we’ll be on the grid soon.” 

The biggest hurdle facing Andretti was winning over their doubters and their new approach certainly adds weight to their lofty ambitions. 

It remains to be seen how the teams will respond to the latest proposal and there is still a long way to go, but the return of the famous Andretti name to F1 is starting to feel that bit more realistic.

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