F1: Andretti/Cadillac F1 entry looks increasingly Dead-On-Arrival (Update)

Speaking to Forbes, Andretti hit back at the negative attitude of F1 teams toward his entry that we outlined below in the original article.

He thinks the issue is one of pure “greed”, as he suggested there was no doubt what was the chief motivating factor behind the political battle going on.

“It’s all about money,” Andretti said. “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.”

“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.”

Asked about the Renault re-badging suggestions, he said: “It’s a rumor – it’s not true – Cadillac will be very much involved in the manufacturing of the car.

“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.”

While Andretti makes some good arguments, he still has not addressed all the concerns outlined below, namely ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’.

January 10, 2023 

Privately, almost all the biased Closed-Door Club F1 teams have come out against the proposed Andretti/Cadillac F1 entry.

How real are their arguments, or is it just smoke and mirrors to keep F1 in the news during the otherwise quiet offseason?

Here are some of the reasons why they feel the team should not be allowed into F1, at least that we have heard. You decide whether you agree with their arguments.

A. Andretti Autosport and Andretti Global have never designed a race car.  They buy ‘spec’ cars, tweak them and race them. As Andrew Benson wrote for the BBC, “there is a general sense in the F1 paddock that many of those racing in America in categories where teams buy cars off the shelf and run them with fairly small-scale operations don’t quite grasp just how high the level is in F1, how complex the task.”

One Wag added “Andretti can’t even field a top team in IndyCar any longer, how is he ever going to be competitive in F1? He’s not winning championships in almost all the series he competes in, and they are all ‘spec’ cars.”

B. Experienced talent to design, fabricate and build an F1 car does not exist in the USA. Andrew Benson of the BBC wrote, “an existing F1 team boss described the plan to base the team in the US as “insane” and suggested that Andretti appeared not to have learned the lessons of his own brief flirtation with F1 as a driver.”

Andretti insists his plan is in good shape.

“We’ve done a lot of hiring,” he said last week. “We have quite a few people already working for us. We have hired the main engineers. So yes, we’re very much down the road on that. We have our technical director already hired; we’ll announce that down the road as well.”

AR1.com opinion: Unless they have hired a vastly experienced Aldo Costa at Dallara to design their car (at least the chassis), very few ‘American’ engineers have a clue how to design a fast F1 car.

C. The teams totally reject the notion of anyone coming in the sport now doing an engine badging exercise unless it is with an existing established F1 team. They want OEM’s who are deeply involved from a design standpoint. If Cadillac is going to do the design in conjunction with Ilmor, that’s ok, but to just badge a Renault or a Honda is unacceptable in their eyes.

Andretti said: “The capabilities that GM has are on the level with any Formula 1 team out there. That’s going to help us get up and running even quicker.”

Having GM involved is no guarantee of success in F1.  They point to the complete and utter failure of the Toyota and Ford owned Jaguar F1 teams because they had zero F1 experience.  GM has zero F1 experience.

GM did not apply to be a 2026 engine supplier in F1. They missed the deadline, hence if they were to do their own engine, they are looking at a 2027 being their first competitive F1 season…unless potential engine partner Ilmor applied for 2026.

D. They now deem the $200 million anti-dilution entry fee for a new team called for in the Concorde Agreement as not enough. AR1.com Opinion: Well, too bad they all signed the latest 2021 Concorde Agreement, and they are bound to the contract until it expires at the end of 2025. They can cry all they want, but that is the deal they signed. Any attempt to change it mid-stream will meet with strict European Anti-Competition law violations. However, Andretti chose to base his team in the USA rather than Europe; hence, he likely won’t be protected by the EU Anti-Competition laws.

This may also be why Andretti insisted he would field a team before 2026 and under the existing Concorde Agreement.  In 2026, when a new Concorde Agreement will be in place, the entry fee is likely to be significantly higher. $500 million has been suggested.

E. Andretti Global is just breaking ground now on the F1 headquarters in Fishers, IN. and they want to be on the grid before 2026 They point out that they already have the basics of 2025 cars sketched out, while Andretti also has to scale up a factory, and employ 600 or so people by then. Good luck with that, as experienced F1 talent simply does not exist in the USA.

F. They feel the Andretti/Cadillac cars won’t qualify for any of the races. The rule as it stands now is fairly simple: during the first qualifying session, every car has to turn a time that is within 107% of the fastest time. Don’t meet that threshold and your car won’t be allowed to start the race, which would be an embarrassment for Andretti, Cadillac, American fans and F1.  Embarrass Cadillac for too long, and they will be looking for a quick exit out of the sport.

As much as Americans, and Andretti in particular, may feel slighted by this rejection by the F1 team bosses, if you stand back and pull up your big boy pants, what they are saying to Andretti, “if you are going to come race with us, do it the right way, or don’t come at all.”

If Andretti were wise, he would take it as constructive criticism, regroup, and come back with a better plan prior to the FIA F1 new team Letter Of Interest being formally requested.

Mark C. reporting for AutoRacing1.com


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