Andretti F1 bid backed by McLaren and Alpine bosses

© XPB 

Michael Andretti's bid to launch a brand new Formula 1 team has been broadly backed by McLaren CEO Zak Brown and by his Alpine counterpart Laurent Rossi.

The news that a formal application had been filed to add Andretti Global to the grid in 2024 first emerged last week with a surprise tweet from former F1 world champion Mario Andretti, Michael's father.

While the Andretti team was confident that it had ticked all the boxes for a successful entry, the response from the FIA has been less enthusiastic and suggested that the governing body felt this wasn't the right time to expand the grid.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull's Christian Horner were both sceptical about the new squad's viability, which would include stumping up a $200 million entry fee to cover other team's potential reduced share of TV rights income.

"We are the absolute pinnacle. This is the Champions League or the NFL," Wolff said. "Redistributing franchises is not the goal. That's not how it should be, and it's not the intention of F1 and the FIA."

But Brown felt it was a mistake not to embrace Andretti's application as a chance of expanding Formula 1 from its current line-up of ten teams, with Haas the most recent addition in 2016.

"Andretti as a name, as a highly credible racing team, and knowing who his backers are, and who he is, they will no doubt help us grow the sport in North America," Brown told

"I think the teams that may not support another team are being short-sighted," he said. "Are we trying to grow the sport? Or are we doing what racing teams have a bad tendency to do, which is think about today and not the future?


"You have to assume that Andretti will help us grow in North America, which will compensate for any dilution [in TV rights income]," Brown argued.

"If that is $100 million, can they help us grow $100 million more in revenue for the sport through TV and interest in sport? I think so.

"There is the dilution payment, which kind of covers you for a couple of years," he added. "In three or four year's time, after the dilution payment is no longer in, just reduce our budget by $10 million a year.

"Again I think it's short sighted to not want other credible teams to come in because of dilution," he insisted. "The easiest thing after is to continue to look to reduce expenditure.

"Also you can only have 12 teams on the grid," he pointed out. "Once you have 12, you're really in a situation where the only way to enter the sport is to acquire so I think it will also further enhance the value of all the teams."

Andretti has already tried to buy an existing team, with negotiations taking place with both Haas and Alfa Romeo proving unsuccessful.

© IndyCar Media

“[Gene Haas] doesn’t want to sell,” Andretti told the Associated Press. “The last conversation I had with him was probably around October or November. He told me he didn’t care if he’s running in the back, says it works for him anyway.

“If he wants to sell, tell him to call me, it makes it a lot easier for us."

As for Andretti's credentials, Brown said there were fewer names in motorsport more respected. Michael Andretti himself was a McLaren F1 driver in the 1990s before running Andretti Autosports which is currently competing in IndyCar and Formula E.

"His father's a world champion, he's driven in F1 and he's got multiple racing teams," Brown argued. "I know who his financial backers are, and they are exactly the type of investors you would want in motor sport."

Alpine's Rossi echoed Brown's comments about F1 needing to be more open and responsive to potential new teams joining the championship.

“I think I welcome it if it’s accretive [adding value and promoting positive change]," he told RaceFans. "I think Andretti could have that potential because of all the US aspect of it

“We’ll see. I think it would be nice, it would spice things up on the track as well, which is good. It’s better to move the hierarchy a bit all the time.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter