During the groundbreaking ceremony last Tuesday for Andretti Global’s new state-of-the-art HQ to be built adjacent to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport to house what is a racing empire the Andretti family has built.
Speaking at the ceremony last Tuesday, packed with Indiana state dignitaries, media and VIPs in attendance, Micahel Andretti said of the project: “This isn’t about IndyCar. With this, we want to do something that’s never been done before.
“We want to be in all forms of auto racing, from Le Mans to Monaco to the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 and eventually, in the future, we want it all to be under one roof. That’s our big goal, and we’ve got a lot of plans in the works to get there.”
Inevitably talk turned to the Andretti F1 team ambitions, with Michael revealing he is expecting news from the FIA and FOM soon: “We’re hoping in the next couple weeks. That would sure be a nice Christmas present.”
What form Andretti’s entry will take remains to be seen, but increasingly it’s looking like an 11th team to enter the F1 circus as opposed to buying an existing ‘plug and play’ operation, such as Alpha Tauri who appeared to be an option for the foray.
But Michael poured cold water on the AlphaTauri option: “No, they’re not interested but we’re working every day. I’m still confident. We’re getting close. We haven’t gotten the ‘OK’ yet, but we’re getting really close.”
Also present at the ceremony, Dan Towriss, CEO of Andretti sponsor Gainbridge, hinted at big things for the future: “We’re confident in the plans and what this means for our future. These plans run much deeper than a facility, and those are the plans we want them to see.”
Playing down the reluctance by F1 to embrace and welcome Andretti Global into the fray
Regarding the apparent reluctance of FOM to expand the F1 field to 11 teams, thus 22 cars, Towriss told IndyStar: “I think a lot of times, the quotes that get pulled out don’t really tell the full story. There’s a lot of conversations going on, and we’re not trying to get out in front of anything or use the media as a tool to influence anything.
“They have an expectation on approach and decorum that people should take in dealing with them and we respect that,” added Towriss of the processes required by the FIA, who have the final say on whether the Andretti Global F1 entry will happen or not in 2024.
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers was one of many heavy hitters at the ceremony, ad he too alluded to a bright future with community support: “I’m the state’s economic evangelist, and the state is winning because of companies like Andretti Global that are future focussed.
“This is about a family and a company that’s got a whole portfolio in racing, and there’s more to come, more to come. I know you’re working hard on that.”
Time will tell if that hard work, in this instance, to become an F1 team will happen for the Andretti clan, should they fail to convince the decision-makers that they have the backing, the facilities and the pedigree to be an F1 team – then there’s something seriously wrong with the vetting system.
However, like most sensible folks involved in F1, as fans or workers, it is clear that ‘Andretti in F1’ has a nice ring to it and collectively we would relish the expansion from 10 to 11 teams in the top flight, thus we too hope Santa Claus is in a generous mood this Christmas for the good of the sport.