Michael Andretti

F1: Sport’s Top-3 drivers back Andretti as 11th team

(GMM) Three of Formula 1’s top drivers have broken ranks to declare that they would like to see Andretti-Cadillac welcomed onto the grid.

This week, the FIA gave Andretti’s bid for a place in pitlane the green light – but it now all depends on commercial negotiations with Liberty Media.

Michael Andretti Smiles
Michael Andretti Smiles

The majority of the existing ten teams are clearly siding with the F1 owner in balking at the idea of having another competitor on the grid as early as 2025.

“As a team, we have no legal opportunity to have a say,” admitted Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko.

“But our opinion is clear – if the cake is divided by eleven instead of ten, there must be a re-balancing.”

Some believe, however, that even a tripling of the ‘new team’ fee from $200m to $600 million might not be enough to convince F1 to change its position.

Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll said on Thursday: “Our sport has never been in a better place so I think that if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it.”

Aston Martin CEO Lawrence Stroll
Aston Martin CEO Lawrence Stroll

Team driver Fernando Alonso actually raced an Andretti IndyCar at the 2017 Indy 500, and in Qatar, he admitted it is a “great team”.

“I know Michael and he will be obviously a great name to add to Formula 1,” said the Spaniard. “But there are other people in charge of these kind of decisions, first the FIA and FOM and the teams as well.

“So, you know, I don’t know exactly what to say. I like Michael, I like the organization, but I also understand other things, and I will support whatever the Aston Martin position is.”

Most other F1 drivers asked the same question in Qatar had basically the same response – praise for Andretti, but deference to F1 and their teams’ opinions and decisions.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, however, broke ranks from Mercedes’ opposition.

“There will be those who will not be happy with my support, but I think it’s great,” the seven time world champion said when asked about Andretti.

“I’ve always felt there aren’t enough cars on the grid. This is an opportunity to create more jobs and the possibility that a female driver will get a seat.”

Red Bull’s dominant driver Max Verstappen also broke ranks with his team’s official position when asked about Andretti on Thursday.

“From everything I have seen so far, in addition to the partners they have and their name, they have shown that they are a professional team,” said the Dutchman.

“I think it would be good because it offers more opportunities from the drivers’ side. But I can understand that teams don’t want them,” Verstappen added.

“It’s complicated.”

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