BREAKING: F1 rejected Andretti’s bid to join the grid.
Date: January 31, 2024 5:50 EST
F1 deems Andretti Global’s bid for 2025 and 2026 seasons non-competitive, promising a possible reconsideration in 2028 with General Motors’ ready engine.
In a surprising turn of events, Formula 1 has rejected Andretti Global’s ambitious bid to join the global racing series for the 2025 and 2026 seasons. The decision, announced on Wednesday after a six-month review, cited concerns about the team’s ability to be competitive in the highly demanding international racing series.
Andretti Global, led by racing legend Michael Andretti and backed by General Motors (GM), had sought to expand the grid, but Formula 1 was adamant in its decision, stating that the Andretti team would face a significant challenge to meet the technical demands of the sport.
Formula 1’s decision has not only disappointed the Andretti team but also outraged American fans who were hopeful about the prospect of a strong American presence in the series. Michael Andretti and GM are now exploring potential legal avenues, indicating their disagreement with F1’s assessment of their application.
The rejection is a blow to the Andretti family, particularly to Mario Andretti, the 1978 F1 world champion, and Michael Andretti, who ran 13 races in the 1993 season.
Mario Andretti expressed his devastation on social media, unable to find words beyond the profound sense of disappointment.
The collaboration between Andretti Global and GM under the Cadillac brand faced significant opposition from existing F1 teams, F1 leadership, and Liberty Media Corp., the American company that owns the commercial rights to the series. The rejection also comes at a time when the United States has shown increasing interest in Formula 1, hosting three races in the previous season and attracting major American companies as team sponsors.
The rejection was further complicated by GM’s announcement in November that it had registered with F1’s governing body to become an engine supplier starting in 2028. This left Formula 1 in a challenging position, as turning away one of the largest automakers in the world, especially an American company, would be a difficult decision.
F1’s statement suggested that the series did not believe Andretti would be a competitive participant, challenging the team’s understanding of the technical challenges unique to Formula 1. The rejection also pointed out that the Andretti name, while recognized, might not bring the anticipated value to the series.
Despite the setback, Andretti Cadillac remains resolute, expressing strong disagreement with F1’s decision. The company stated, “We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.”
Formula 1’s decision not to consult with the existing 10 teams has raised eyebrows, but the series emphasized that the addition of an 11th team would impose operational burdens on race promoters and affect existing competitors.
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The possibility of Andretti Global joining Formula 1 is not entirely ruled out. F1 has left the door open for reconsideration in 2028, aligning with General Motors’ plan to have a competitive engine ready for the championship. The series acknowledged that major automotive manufacturers, including GM, might need several years of significant investment to become competitive.
In conclusion, while the rejection is a setback for Andretti Global’s immediate F1 aspirations, the door remains ajar for a potential entry in 2028, contingent on the development and readiness of a General Motors engine. The ongoing saga highlights the complexities and challenges involved in expanding the prestigious Formula 1 grid, leaving American racing fans both disappointed and hopeful for the future.
Photo credit – BRADLEY COLLYER – PA IMAGES//GETTY IMAGES
- Michael Andretti Racing career: Following a successful career racing karts, winning 50 of his 75 races over eight years, Andretti moved into racing cars. He obtained his SCCA National License in 1980, then won six races to claim the SCCA’s Northeast Division Formula Ford championship in 1981. He also drove in several Formula Vee races in regional SCCA events. In 1982, he won six of the 11 races on his way to winning the Robert Bosch US Formula Super Vee Championship. He also won the opening race of the 1983 Super Vee season before he moved up to drive in Formula Atlantic, and won his second title by winning the FIA Formula Mondial North American Cup the following season.
He made his international sports car debut at the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans but was denied the opportunity to race. The Mirage M12 he chose with his father was disqualified 80 minutes before the race. The father and son partnership returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe the following year and were joined by Philippe Alliot in the Porsche Kremer Racing’s Porsche 956, taking third place. Andretti also raced alongside his father in the Riverside 6 Hours where they were joined by A. J. Foyt and Preston Henn, but the Porsche 935 failed to finish. The father and son duo paired up again for the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona, this time in a full-works Porsche 962, which made its race debut. They took pole position, but during the race, the engine broke.
- Andretti made his CART debut in 1983, racing for the Kraco Enterprises team. He re-signed for Kraco for the 1984 season, where he managed five third-place finishes and ended his rookie season in seventh overall. In the Indianapolis 500, he finished fifth and shared the Rookie of the Year award with Roberto Guerrero. He went on to win his first IndyCar race in 1986 in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The season became a two-man battle for the championship title, between Michael and Bobby Rahal. Andretti would take the points lead with his victory on the Milwaukee Mile. A week later, on Father’s Day, Michael was leading on the final lap at Portland, when his March-Cosworth 86C ran out of fuel, allowing his father, Mario, to beat him by just 0.07 seconds. It was one of the most shocking finishes in the history of IndyCar, and the closest finish until 1997. With Rahal continuing to win races, Andretti’s consistent finishing only allowed Rahal a nine-point lead in the standing with two races remaining. Andretti won a key victory in at Phoenix. Going into the season finale at Tamiami Park, Andretti was just three points behind Rahal, but neither driver was a factor in the race, with Andretti retiring with a broken half shaft.
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- Formula One
- Andretti driving for McLaren at the 1993 European Grand Prix in Donington Park
- For the 1993 season, Michael signed for Marlboro McLaren, to partner with the triple World Drivers’ Champion Ayrton Senna in their Ford HBD V8-powered MP4/8. He signed during the summer of 1992 and the deal was announced at Monza over the weekend of the 1992 Italian Grand Prix.
- “I think he can win Grands Prix and become the World Champion,” said Ron Dennis, McLaren’s team principal. “It’s not a question of which country you come from. It’s how you demonstrate your desire to win.” There were practical factors that mitigated Andretti being ability to show competitive form in his debut season in F1. The rule changes introduced that season destroyed his hopes of unrestricted laps in free practice during which he could learn the tracks, as most were unfamiliar to him.
Starting in 1993, the morning’s untimed session allowed only 23 laps, and the qualifying session permitted only twelve laps.
- With the pressure intensifying, Michael began the year with crashes in the Kyalami and at Interlagos. In the latter of these two, he had a massive collision at the start with Gerhard Berger in a Ferrari. He then qualified sixth for the Sega European Grand Prix at Donington Park, but he collided with Karl Wendlinger’s Sauber on the opening lap. Next time out at Imola, he again fell foul of Wendlinger after a drive that might have ended with a visit to the podium, and many critics cited this as the key turning point for the American.