May 11 (GMM) Michael Andretti found resistance in the Formula 1 paddock when he spoke with current team principals over the Miami GP weekend.
The former McLaren driver is trying to convince F1, the FIA and his potential rival teams to open the doors to an eleventh team entry for 2024.
One hurdle is the sport’s commercial owner – Liberty Media.
“I don’t think it’s a pressing need,” Greg Maffei, Liberty’s CEO, said at a Bloomberg event when asked about opening up the pitlane to new teams like Andretti.
Even the FIA, now led by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, is reportedly not keen – even though Andretti says a meeting with the new president in Miami “went good”.
“I think he is in support, but there’s a big process. We’re not going to get an answer for a while,” Andretti said. “It could be all the way to September or October.”
In the meantime, his Andretti Global subsidiary is hiring new staff and plans for a Formula 1 factory in Indianapolis is slated to begin “hopefully in August”.
The biggest pushback for Andretti appears to be from the Formula 1 teams themselves.
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner was more robust in his push-back Thursday. For some, the resistance is obvious – as an eleventh team simply dilutes the value of their own franchise.
“I think at the moment that 10 teams – 10 solid teams – is a good solution,” said Haas boss Gunther Steiner. “We as a team, we don’t need more.”
To bolster the bid, Andretti went around to all ten team principals in Miami asking them to sign a document that would be presented to F1’s authorities.
According to rumours, only about half of them signed on.
“I’m not surprised at all that some of the race teams take a very selfish view on what should or shouldn’t happen in motor racing,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown, a fellow American.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner hinted that it will be up to Liberty Media to decide how to handle the Andretti bid – such as how much the other teams are compensated.
“I think it is more of an issue with the Liberty guys,” he said, confirming that he met with Andretti. “At the end of the day, it’s purely fiscal.
“Ultimately, it’s a question for the rights holder on how much they value that eleventh team.”