AutoRacing1.com has written on numerous occasions that if Michael Andretti wants to get his entry approved for F1, he is going to have to hitch a ride with an engine manufacturer that will add value to the series, not Renault/Alpine which is already in the series.
Andretti put the word out that his planned F1 team would be powered by Alpine.
That pretty much wrote a death sentence on his entry.
Amid interest from Audi in joining, Mercedes chief Wolff believes the German manufacturer’s size and marketing power would make it a more suitable 11th entrant than Andretti.
Asked explicitly at a recent press conference whether a new entry from Audi would change the perspective of existing teams, Wolff said: “I think that whoever joins as the 11th team, whoever gets an entry, needs to demonstrate how creative they can be for the business.
“Andretti is a great name, and I think they have done exceptional things in the US. But this is sport and this is business, and we need to understand what is it that you can provide to the sport.
“And if an OEM or an international, multinational group joins F1 and can demonstrate that they are going to spend X amount of dollars in activating, in marketing in the various markets; that’s obviously a totally different value proposition for all the other teams.”
“With 10 franchises that, we hope, can increase the value, and you’re certainly not going to increase the value by just issuing new franchises to people that cannot increase the overall value of Formula 1,” he added.
So Andretti has three choices now, or he can forget his F1 goals:
- Hitch a ride with Audi, but they are rumored to be buying out the Sauber Team, which won’t add a single car to the F1 grid, just a new name and a lot of money.
- Convince Honda to return in 2026 after Porsche takes over as engine supplier for Red Bull and AlphaTauri. F1 will lose Honda after 2025 unless Andretti can convince them to partner with his F1 team (50/50 ownership), hence Andretti convincing Honda to come back in as a 50% team owner and engine supplier, would add value to F1.
- Convince Alfa Romeo to return in 2026 after Audi takes over as engine supplier for Sauber. F1 will lose Alfa Romeo after 2025 unless Andretti can convince them to partner with his F1 team (50/50 ownership), hence Andretti convincing Alfa Romeo to come back in as a 50% team owner and engine supplier, would add value to F1. Currently, Ferrari supplies Sauber with engines and Alfa Romeo puts their name on the car as a sponsor. They would have to make a bigger commitment.
In our opinion – Andretti’s best, and perhaps only option, is #2. He already has a close relationship with American Honda, a subsidiary of Honda Japan. He needs to use that connection with Japan.
Mark C. reporting for Autoracing1.com