Andretti on F1's pushback: 'It's all about the money'


Michael Andretti has sounded off once again on the pushback his prospective F1 plans are getting from several team principals, insisting the negative attitude "is all about the money".

Almost twelve months ago, Andretti launched an independent effort by Andretti Global to return America's most prominent racing family to Grand Prix racing.

On paper, bringing an American team supported by Andretti back to the grid seemed like an enticing proposition for F1 at a time when the sport was leveraging on its growing popularity in the United States.

But a majority of the sport's incumbents immediately pushed back against Andretti's plans, arguing that the outfit had yet to demonstrate how it would add value to F1 or help boost the sport's revenue in the long term.

Also, adding an eleventh franchise in F1 would inevitably decrease the slice of revenue enjoyed by each outfit, although a mandatory $200 million anti-dilution fee paid by any new team would cover the ten teams' reduced revenue for a two-year period.

Last week, Andretti sensationally upgraded his F1 project by adding General Motors – America's number one automotive manufacturer – as an active partner along with its affiliate Cadillac, much to the liking of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

But again, hell-bent on enforcing its protectionist stance, Formula 1 offered an icy cold reaction to last week's news, with one senior F1 figure telling Reuters that Andretti's partnership with GM was but a mere "badging exercise".

But in an exclusive interview with Forbes, Michael Andretti set the record straight and made clear that "greed" was the main factor behind F1's adverse attitude towards his project.

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"It’s all about money," Andretti told Forbes. "First, they think they are going to get diluted one-tenth of their prize money, but they also get very greedy thinking we will take all the American sponsors as well.

"It’s all about greed and looking at themselves and not looking at what is best for the overall growth of the series."

Andretti said that he wasn't surprised that his team's joint venture with GM had done nothing to quell F1's resistance.

"I'm not surprised," he added. "In F1, the owners look out for themselves; not what is best for the series.

"That is the difference between President Mohammed's position and the team owner's position. President Mohammed is looking out for the future of the sport

"Mohammed gets it. He's a racer and he understands the series needs to have one or two more teams.

"It is an FIA championship, and it holds most of the cards to get the expression of interest going."

Andretti made clear that the new wave of negativity by the "naysayers" only enforced his determination to succeed in putting his team on the grid.

"You have to stay focused on your job and not listen to the naysayers," he added. "I actually use the naysayers as motivation. It's always fun to shut them up."

Finally, Andretti denied that his tie-up with Cadillac would be limited to a "badging exercise" based on Renault hardware.

"It's not true – Cadillac will be very much involved in the manufacturing of the car," he said.

"If we get in, in 2025, there won't be a new engine yet, so we would have to go with a formula that is used now.

"But in 2026, there are various things we can do with another engine manufacturer. It would not be a badged engine, because there would be intellectual property from Cadillac in that engine, so that is not a badged engine."

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