F1: Will a GM vs Ford battle ever materialize in F1?

It seems extremely hard to argue that the prospect of Ford and GM going head-to-head in F1 would bring anything but major positives for the series.

However, there is one major problem.

While Ford will be running at the front of the grid powering perhaps the best chassis on the grid and racing for wins, the Andretti car with Cadillac power will be designed in the USA (at least that is the current plan until we hear otherwise) and running right at the back of the field.

The Ford-powered car will lap the Cadillac-powered car multiple times every race.

Not all manufacturers have shined in F1, particularly those who succeeded in other forms of motorsport but failed to translate their previous triumphs to Grand Prix racing.

One of those who failed was Peugeot, who came into Grand Prix racing in a blaze of glory, only for the on-track product to turn into a blaze of shattered spark plugs and red-faced company executives.

It won’t hardly be a GM vs. Ford battle unless:

  1. Andretti Global engages Aldo Costa at Dallara to do the chassis
  2. Cadillac badges a strong engine or engages Ilmor to design it with them
  3. Andretti Global is able to poach many good people from existing F1 teams, but how do you do that if they live in Europe and your team is in the USA? How many will want to uproot their families?  Needed is a Team Principal, Technical Director, Chief Design Engineer, a Logistics team, Software developers, a traveling team (Race team, track team, IT Hospitality), Factory Team (Chassis Design, Aerodynamics, Simulation, Manufacturing, Test and Development, IT), Communication, Online Media and Video production, etc. In total, some 200 to 400 people will need to be hired, some in the USA and some in Europe for the traveling team.
  4. Buy a couple of Gulfstream Jets – The team will be flying replacement parts (when cars get wiped out) and personnel all over the world for over 9 months a year – sometimes overnight when door-to-door service is needed and the clock is ticking. A Gulfstream G700, for example, has a range of 7,500 miles, able to reach just about any F1 track non-stop overnight at speeds of 0.9 the speed of sound.
  5. Keep Expectations Realistic – If the car runs at the back every race and the engine fails all the time, relations between GM and Andretti could quickly turn rotten
  6. Silence inner-company and national politics – depending on how the team is structured, and how successful the team is, internal finger pointing could soon unravel the team
  7. Lay out a 5-year plan and tweak it as you go to move the team forward.

That’s our opinion, but Michael Andretti has yet to reveal his full plans, and he may surprise us all.

The thought of these two American automotive rivals battling it out on the Formula 1 stage surely should be far too tempting for the series to resist. American interest in F1 would skyrocket…..not that it isn’t already……but that would take it to another level.

Mark Cipolloni reporting for AutoRacing1.com