On Friday, Feb. 18, a single tweet from Mario Andretti made waves at the end of the day. In it, he claimed that his son Michael had applied to the FIA — Formula One’s governing body — to enter a brand-new, all-American team named Andretti Global. And yes, it’s actually happening.
There was some confusion about it at first. In the immediate aftermath, Andretti press representatives refused to comment on whether or not the tweet was true, and a few folks — my husband included — wondered if Andretti had been hacked. But it was confirmed soon after that, no, this was an entirely legitimate prospect, one that RACER magazine has been following in depth all weekend.
This weekend, RACER confirmed that Michael Andretti is willing and able to pay the $200 million “anti-dilution” fee to existing F1 teams, which is basically a fee designed to prevent new teams from entering F1 willy-nilly and snatching prize money from existing teams. To pay that much money to enter F1 means you have to be extremely motivated and confident in the potential success of your team.
RACER also confirmed that, should the team come together, Andretti Global has plans to run an American driver in the big leagues of F1 — if timing allows. Colton Herta has been largely pegged as the American most likely to hit the international scene, but as Mario Andretti noted, that all comes down to “timing.” In order to gain the super license necessary for F1 competition, Herta will have to maintain dominant form in IndyCar.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has expressed interest in giving help to Andretti Global should the team actually make its way into F1 — again, something confirmed by RACER.
And the publication also nabbed the first exclusive interview with Mario Andretti since the Friday announcement, where Andretti had the following to say:
I’m very proud of what Michael is doing and his goals. I certainly endorse what he’s doing and I’m there to help whichever way I can without having a job! That’s the perfect scenario!
I said, ‘You’re so far along and you’ve done so much work since the attempt to purchase a present team failed.’ He’s not giving up on the idea, period. He started working immediately on the Plan B, if you will, that now becomes Plan A, to just start his own team. He has a couple of individuals behind him that are here for the duration and are solid, and everyone is feeling the same way, feeling very positive about embarking on something like this.
Andretti is, of course, referring to Michael Andretti’s October 2021 bid to purchase Sauber, which runs the Alfa Romeo team that currently competes in F1. Things looked promising in that regard for a while, with Colton Herta even rumored to be getting a free practice F1 test during the United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX. Ultimately, though, the deal died — and Andretti claimed that it came down to the nitty-gritty details over who would be in control of the team.
What better way to solve that control issue than by just entering your very own team?
Official details are still sparse, and there are still plenty of opportunities for this whole thing to fall apart at the seams. But this may actually be the closest F1 has gotten to an American owned and operated F1 team with an American driver behind the wheel since Dan Gurney brought AAR to the big leagues.