Former Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti says that he would be delighted to see the family name back on the Grand Prix grid in the future.
The Italian-born American racing icon took part in 128 races during his F1 career that spanned 1968 until 1982. His son Michael made a further 13 starts for McLaren in 1993.
Michael has since gone on to run the highly successful Andretti Autosports business, predominantly focussed on the US IndyCar open wheel championship.
But last month there were strong rumours linking Andretti to a move into F1, with a buy out of either Haas F1 or Sauber (currently racing as Alfa Romeo) seen as the most likely avenues.
Now 81, Mario said he would love Michael to achieve the dream of operating a F1 team in addition to all his other squads which compete in Indy Lights, Formula E, Extreme E, Australian Supercars and IMSA.
"It's no secret. Michael is very ambitious," Mario told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview this week. "Motor racing as a whole interests him. Look at all the disciplines that he's involved in. That's his business.
"Now he's looking at the pinnacle, which is F1. How sweet it would be if all of this comes to fruition," he added. "There's a lot of speculation, and whenever there's smoke there's fire somewhere."
Although he could offer no further details or confirmation about the plans, Mario added that Michael "is definitely working on it, no question."
"He's been looking at that for two or three years now at least, and the interest is there," he added. "But when and how it will happen, that's up to him to divulge."
Michael previously told RACER magazine that "If the right opportunity comes up we'll be all over it, but we're not there yet."
“Entering Formula 1 has been of interest to Michael and the team for some time," a spokesperson for Andretti Autosport told The Race last week.
"We’ve explored many options over the years, but at this time we have nothing new to report.
“Should a proper opportunity come along to take the Andretti name back to F1, we’d jump at it," the spokesperson said. “But as of now, that opportunity has not fallen in our laps
"Our focus remains on our seven disciplines of competition," the statement added. “Our passion is racing, in all forms, and we never say never.
Of the two potential candidate teams, Haas is understood to be contemplating a buy-out from Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin whose son Nikita currently races for the squad alongside Mick Schumacher.
Meanwhile Sauber was reported as having turned down an approach from Andretti. "The proposal was made in the summer and received a 'no' from the owners," Sky Italia stated last week in Monza.