This was music to everybody’s ears except the dozen or so folks, aka the current F1 teams whose militant derision of the concept of an 11th is a stumbling block. The current ten-team cabal (or is it nine? Or eight and a half?) ‘led’ by Naysayer-in-Chief Toto Wolff who has always questioned the value the Michael Andretti-led bid would bring to the table.
The stone in Wolff’s shoe (and his nine colleagues and rivals) is now jettisoned as that question of “value” no longer holds sway. The claim made that GM might not be in it for the long run and ‘we’re just propping up the Andretti bid to get into F1’ is now in the dustbin.
They have no more excuses as GM has, put a gun to their collective heads so to speak, Stefano Domenicali’s noggin is in there too. They simply cannot say “No” yet again. The list of visionless excuses was only made to delay and destroy Andretti’s well-mounted project.
The world waits on Domenicali to see if they remain an exclusive club
Right now there are no consequences for bad performances or F1 teams that do not meet the benchmark of what F1 should be. That is about the best racing teams in the world doing battle at the pinnacle of the sport.
Not what we have now, a select team where one or two, maybe three dominate over two decades and the rest are just part of the sideshow. F1 teams that are never capable of winning, and happily exist to be part of the sideshow and get a Netflix episode each year to let people know they were actually at the races.
GM’s commitment to F1 is perhaps triggered by the incredible popularity of the sport on their doorstep without a real or serious American team on the Grand Prix grid.
Haas, you say? Yes, Gene Haas is American. But he lost hope and interest a long time ago and is hardly ever seen at Grand Prix weekends leaving motormouth Guenther Steiner to sort out the survival of a team whose chassis is built in Italy by Dallara; ditto their engine supplier Ferrari.
But without money, their cars tend to start well and then without investment for upgrades they become shitboxes, dangerous ones too as the spare part cabinet gets increasingly bare, while their two veteran journeymen Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen struggle race weekend in and race weekend out.
Before the United States boom of 2021/2022, and even during the early stages Steiner unbelievably admitted that their commercial department never sought to seek sponsors or partners in America.
To call Haas an American F1 team does the country a disfavour and is a misnomer
Gene’s team is run by an Italian, the chassis designed and built in Italy, powered by Italian engines and until recently sponsored by a Russian oligarch’s Uralkali company. And of course, as for their two main F1 drivers, one is a German and the other is Danish with a Brazilian as reserve. Without an American young gun in sight.
Also worth recalling, back in 2015, only Ferrari (for obvious reasons $$$) entertained Gene Haas when he was sniffing about the F1 paddock to garner interest and momentum for his foray. He was also all but ignored by F1 team bosses (much like the Andrettis and GM have been treated) until the Haas F1 Team became a reality.
When Gene’s cars finally made the grid for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, there was an instant outcry and disdain from other rival F1 teams when the Haas VF-16 turned out to be a 2015 Ferrari kit-car. That eventually went away.
However, during their first decade in the top flight questions remain: What has Haas brought to the F1 table since 2016? Are they better? Are they really an American F1 Team? We’ll be kind and count them as half a team.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri are a four-car F1 team no matter how they skin the Junior cars
This leaves eight and a half because AlphaTauri is a Red Bull Junior team no matter how they skinned it in the past, now and in the future. If Red Bull pulled out of F1 tomorrow, that would include their little brothers too. AKA a four-car team if the truth be told.
Thus F1 should be welcoming Andretti with open hands. Not only because GM have loaded the gun pointing to heads but because of the true value a true American team, with a ‘Built in the USA’ power unit, United States drivers will bring to the sport.
Andretti will pull true racing fans from the multitude of series they contest in the United States with great success and popularity. While Las Vegas attracts ‘fans’ who should “go get shit-faced in Ibiza instead of at a Grand Prix” as Max Verstappen suggested so aptly during the weekend at Sin City.
My sources and my gut tell me the 11th team deal is done. FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his team have approved, GM has made the offer F1 can’t refuse… Now it’s just a matter the F1 teams and Formula One Management to make it work. Anything less won’t suffice.
Once Andretti Global is on the grid, F1 fans will be ready for Team 12!