Mario Andretti ‘Offended’ By F1’s Closed-Door Policy

Indycar Series 2022: Indianapolis 500 Mario Andretti
Indycar Series 2022: Indianapolis 500 Mario Andretti

Ahead of a key meeting with Formula 1, Mario Andretti admits he was “offended” by the way the sport defended its decision to block the debut of an eleventh team.

Andretti, with the express support of General Motors, is actually headed by the 1978 world champion’s son Michael, whose original plan was to get a new F1 team up and running as early as 2025.

The FIA green-lit the project, but delays by F1’s commercial owner Formula One Management – owned by Liberty Media – pushed out the earliest debut to 2026.

Ultimately, though, Liberty simply said no – telling Andretti it would at least need to wait until 2028, when GM would have a works Cadillac engine to supply to the team.

“I was offended, actually,” Mario Andretti told the Associated Press, referring to the way F1 defended its rejection on the basis that the Andretti name brings little to F1 and would struggle to be competitive.

“I don’t think we deserved that, to be honest with you,” the 84-year-old added. “It’s a big investment in the series, and you’d think they’d welcome that. Even the value of the series is more valuable with 11 teams than 10, so I don’t know.

“Tell us what is really wrong,” Andretti insisted.

Amid F1’s rejection of the Andretti bid, he said Formula One Management (FOM) then tried to hook up GM and Cadillac with an existing team.

“That’s another offensive statement there,” Mario Andretti said. “We’re the ones that worked it out, and GM said it over and over – ‘Andretti or nothing’. And then they still tried to take it.

“There’s an undercurrent there that I don’t understand, quite honestly, but if they want blood, well, I’m ready.”

Andretti revealed recently that F1 has agreed to meet with the hopeful entry’s leading players in the next few weeks. Mario now admits that meeting will take place on the sidelines of the forthcoming Miami GP.

“We only had one meeting with them. That’s a problem,” he said. “We haven’t had enough. I think that’s why I really welcome our next meeting. You know, let’s sit down,” he said.

In the meantime, Andretti Global has unveiled a new F1 facility at Silverstone Park (UK) and has a working scale model up-and-running in a wind tunnel.

“We’re trying to say ‘We’ll do whatever you ask of us. Now, if you think of something, you tell us’,” Andretti said, adding that the outfit is even willing to field Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams.

“We’re all-in, and I don’t know what else to do.”

For now, the project is still aiming for the green-light for 2026, but fears that little will change about F1 and the existing ten teams’ real reason for closing the door.

“It’s definitely about the financial side, no question about it,” Andretti said, referring to the way the sport’s commercial revenues are split between F1 and the teams.


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