Michael Andretti aims to make Andretti Global into a Formula 1 world title contender before the end of the decade provided they are granted an entry by 2026, and provided Andretti plays his cards right with his technical partners.
Our opinion is that:
- Cadillac should contract with Ilmor (or Honda) to jointly produce the Cadillac F1 engine for Andretti. Ilmor has their fingers in many F1 engines on the grid today. Alternately, Honda is separating from Red Bull after 2025. A joint Cadillac Honda engine would be potent.
- Andretti should contract with Dallara and Aldo Costa to design the key portions of the chassis. Dallara’s Aldo Costa is the best F1 design engineer in F1 history, his championship record exceeds that of Adrian Newey
- Andretti needs to hire a top Aerodynamicist with ground effect car experience, and preferably F1 experience. We assume they will have access to GM’s Wind Tunnel. Only problem is – it is already in use 24 hours a day. The General Motors Aero Lab’s Full-Scale Wind Tunnel Facility, received a significant upgrade of installing a state-of-the-art moving ground plane system in 2020, but an Aerodynamicist with F1 and DRS experience will be key.
- Cadillac and Ilmor would need to sign up to be 2026 F1 engine manufacturers ASAP. If Andretti plans to go with a joint Cadillac and Honda engine, Honda has already signed on as a 2026 engine supplier. Cadillac and Ilmor or Cadillac and Honda – either choice would a potent combination
- Andretti will need a key partner for the electric powertain portion of the car and the MGU-K. With the 2026 engines, about 50% of the power will come from the electric motor. American company Lucid might be a good partner – they already make a 469 hp electric motor that weighs just 70 lbs for Formula E. The unit also provides regen power under braking, acting as a generator and replenishing the battery.
Andretti told Forbes reporter Bruce Martin that Cadillac is not merely an engine-badging deal, suggesting plans to build an engine is not off the radar, starting with the source of what he believes is the problem: “It’s all about money.
“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,” explained Andretti.
Shortly after the Andretti Cadillac story broke, Andretti recalled: “We’ve been working on this for quite a while, but when the President of the FIA Mohammad Ben Sulayem issued his tweet supporting our effort, that is when we decided to make the announcement.
“Once they make an expression of interest, then we are in competition with other teams, and we are on our way because that means we will do an extra team. We were very, very excited when we saw that. It all came together very nicely.
“We check all the boxes. The only box we didn’t have checked when we were working on our entry was, we didn’t have an OEM behind us, but now we have GM and Cadillac behind us. They are going to bring a lot to the party to help us get a race car on track. We are very bullish at this moment.
“There is still a long way to go, and we are willing to follow every procedure that needs to be done. We are in a good position for it,” explained Andretti.
With regards to reports that the Cadillac deal is merely a marketing project for the U.S auto-giant, with engine badging much like Alfa Romeo does with Sauber, Andretti 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.”
The dream for Michael is to win in F1 with his American team, with an American driver: “We are coming in, in a serious way. It will take a long time to get there but, eventually, we want to be one of the top teams in F1. Our end goal is to be competing for the World Championship five or six years down the road.
“We are doing this just to be there. Who cares about that? We want to be competing and race against the best in the world. We aren’t underestimating that. It will be a long, building process, but we have a good plan to eventually get us there,” concluded Andretti.
Mark Cipolloni reporting for AutoRacing1.com