Michael Andretti had better drop the idea of using Renault power units for his F1 team.
It’s becoming clearer by the day, the only way for Andretti Global to get approval to enter F1 as an 11th team is to bring an engine manufacturer along with him. Renault/Alpine is already in F1.
As of right now, Honda is leaving F1 after 2025 unless they have a change of heart, which there have been hints they just might.
If Andretti, who runs Honda engines in IndyCar, can convince Honda to not leave and hitch their horse to the Andretti Global entry, then Andretti would be bringing back a manufacturer that would otherwise have left F1.
Surely, that should shut up Toto Wolff and any other naysayer.
Wolff has good reason to object to Andretti just coming in as a team, that would dilute the prize fund for the other 10 existing teams.
“Andretti is a great name, and I think they have done exceptional things in the US,” said Wolff, followed by “but this is sport and this is business, and we need to understand what is it that you can provide to the sport.”
“We have 10 entries today,” said the Austrian. “We divide the prize fund among those 10 entries. We have invested considerable amounts over the last 10 years.
“I mean, each of the organizations that’s sitting here on the podium has probably put more than a billion into the Formula 1 projects over the years, so it needs to be accretive.
“If a team comes in, how can you demonstrate that you’re bringing in more money than it’s actually costing: because the 11th team means a 10 percent dilution for everybody else.”
Short of getting Liberty Media to increase the prize fund by 10% to shut Toto Wolff up, Andretti should be holding meetings with Honda Japan about supplying engines to his team.
The reasons Honda gave for leaving F1 after 2025 was to focus on electric cars to “save the planet” if you believe that nonsense. However, Honda is having great success selling hybrid cars that 99% of its customers prefer.
The F1 engine is hybrid and will get simpler to produce come 2026 when the MGU-H component gets removed. Plus, with F1 switching to 100% environmentally friendly, non-polluting, fuels in 2026, Honda being in F1 will have positive connotations for the company.
F1 is booming, especially in America, Honda’s biggest market. Clearly, Honda could not have picked a worse time to leave the sport.
It may not take much arm twisting to get them back in, and if Michael Andretti can get his buddy Zak Brown to agree to also run Honda power if they come in with Andretti, Honda brass in Japan might just start licking their chops with delight with the thought of four chances (cars) to win races.
We’re sure Liberty Media can assist in those negotiations as it would be to their benefit to get Honda to return.
Formula 1 needs an 11th team. It’s need more competition and, if Liberty Media’s race into America is anything to go by, it needs another American team other than Haas and you do not get bigger in US motor sport than Andretti.
It would also mean another two seats opening up on the grid for juniors, who are pretty much blocked from entering Formula 1 given the limited number of teams. Especially American juniors.
Mark C. reporting for AutoRacing1.com
July 13, 2022
With Honda expressing some interest in returning to F1 in an official capacity in 2026, what team would they go with?
Porsche is strongly rumored to be set with Red Bull, and we assume AlphaTauri since Red Bull owns them too.
So where does that leave Honda?
Likewise, if Audi buys the Sauber team as rumored, who does Alfa Romeo team with?
There are two manufacturers that would otherwise not be in F1 if they did not have cars to race their engines in.
F1 would want to get Honda back in and not see Alfa Romeo leave.
Hence, why is Michael Andretti talking about a deal with Renault for engines for his planned F1 team when Alfa Romeo and Honda are two companies, if aligned with, could get his team approved by F1?
Renault is already in F1, and riding those coattails will not get Andretti any closer to a team in F1.
July 7, 2022
There could be another avenue for Andretti Global to get into F1. Rumor has it that there are some big players behind the Andretti deal with deep pockets.
We’re not sure who that is but walking around the Silverstone paddock last weekend was Rob Walton (Wal-Mart family) who is said to have more money than Mateschitz (Red Bull), Finn Rausing (Sauber owner) and the Strolls combined. No idea if he is part of the Andretti deal, but he is already a small investor in McLaren.
More important is that he is American.
Keep that thought for a moment.
There is talk that Michael Andretti’s close buddy, Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren F1, remains intent on McLaren becoming an American-style F1 team with some US investors, who have the clout to buy out the Bahrainis, if they wish to depart. The largest shareholder of the McLaren Group is the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the sovereign wealth fund for the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Could we see Andretti Global and its backers, and Rob Walton (also American) team together and buy out the Bahrannis, and the McLaren team eventually become the McLaren Andretti F1 team – 100% American owned?
It would bring deep satisfaction to Michael Andretti knowing that the Andretti name on McLaren would irk Ron Dennis so much he would lay awake at nights with clenched fists and steam spouting from his ears.
With the commercial savvy of Zak Brown and the Commercial attraction of the Andretti name and the Waltons combined, the McLaren Andretti F1 team could, in the not too distant future, be the #1 team in F1.
All this, of course, depends on whether the Bahrannis would agree to sell.
July 7, 2022
Per this rumor and as we suggested below, Honda may return to F1 in 2026, and it has been made clear that if Michael Andretti has any chance of getting his team approved by the FIA he will need to come in with a manufacturer.
Andretti has long-term ties to Honda in IMSA and IndyCar, but that is American Honda. He needs to use those ties to connect with Honda Japan and convince them to ride together into F1.
Honda’s biggest passenger car market is the USA. A tie with an American team can work well from a commercial standpoint.
Audi appears set to enter F1 with Sauber, and Porsche with Red Bull (and we assume AlphaTauri), so those two horses have already left the barn.
But will Honda want to get involved with a brand new F1 team (Andretti) with zero experience?
June 24, 2022
Another sure bet way to get the Andretti team to do a deal with Honda, Porsche or Audi.
Their entry is assured, and who is to say Porsche or Audi only have to power one team. There is no such restriction.
With Audi, Andretti would likely have to give up some control as Audi wants ownership, but with Porsche, they are only supplying engines.
Going back to the rumor, we heard, that Honda is having 2nd thoughts about leaving F1, what happens if Honda stays with Red Bull. What team would Porsche then power?
Or maybe Honda switches to the Andretti team given their history together in IMSA and IndyCar.
Whichever the scenario, where would that leave Renault/Alpine as it appears they cannot help Andretti get his team into F1.
Keeping Honda in F1 would get Andretti’s team approved.
Getting the Porsche deal would also get Andretti’s team approved.
Getting the Audi deal, but giving up complete control, would also get the Andretti team approved
May 11, 2022
(GMM) Michael Andretti found resistance in the Formula 1 paddock when he spoke with current team principals over the Miami GP weekend.
The former McLaren driver is trying to convince F1, the FIA and his potential rival teams to open the doors to an eleventh team entry for 2024.
One hurdle is the sport’s commercial owner – Liberty Media.
“I don’t think it’s a pressing need,” Greg Maffei, Liberty’s CEO, said at a Bloomberg event when asked about opening up the pitlane to new teams like Andretti.
Even the FIA, now led by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, is reportedly not keen – even though Andretti says a meeting with the new president in Miami “went good”.
“I think he is in support, but there’s a big process. We’re not going to get an answer for a while,” Andretti said. “It could be all the way to September or October.”
In the meantime, his Andretti Global subsidiary is hiring new staff and plans for a Formula 1 factory in Indianapolis is slated to begin “hopefully in August”.
The biggest pushback for Andretti appears to be from the Formula 1 teams themselves.
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner was more robust in his push-back Thursday. For some, the resistance is obvious – as an eleventh team simply dilutes the value of their own franchise.
“I think at the moment that 10 teams – 10 solid teams – is a good solution,” said Haas boss Gunther Steiner. “We as a team, we don’t need more.”
To bolster the bid, Andretti went around to all ten team principals in Miami asking them to sign a document that would be presented to F1’s authorities.
According to rumors, only about half of them signed on.
“I’m not surprised at all that some of the race teams take a very selfish view on what should or shouldn’t happen in motor racing,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown, a fellow American.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner hinted that it will be up to Liberty Media to decide how to handle the Andretti bid – such as how much the other teams are compensated.
“I think it is more of an issue with the Liberty guys,” he said, confirming that he met with Andretti. “At the end of the day, it’s purely fiscal.
“Ultimately, it’s a question for the rights holder on how much they value that eleventh team.”
May 11, 2022
Having gone door-to-door in Miami and received approval from only a handful of the 10 F1 teams to allow Andretti Autosports entry into F1, proved to Michael Andretti that he does not have the support he needs to enter F1, and he will never get that support from the teams, unless…….
Who stands to benefit from adding the Andretti team to F1?
Certainly not the existing 10 teams, as they would take a cut in prize winning handouts by 10% after the $200 million entry fee from Andretti is used up in year 1.
First and foremost Liberty Media will benefit.
- Much better USA TV ratings = more revenue from a new TV deal in the USA
- More USA companies buying track signage
- Higher race merchandise sales
- Business-To-Business deals for Liberty Media as a result of an Andretti team
- Higher ratings for Drive-To-Survive, especially in the USA
How to make the existing teams whole
Liberty Media, who stands to generate more revenue from the Andretti team, should, therefore, increase the prize money by 10%, so all teams remain whole.
If they do that, it’s likely all the teams will give their immediate approval to add the Andretti team.
In fact, this is how it should be done for all new teams henceforth – prove that Liberty Media will gain enough additional revenue to more than offset the increase in prize money for the extra team.
Mark C. reporting for AutoRacing1.com