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Brown: Andretti Global can help grow the F1 pie

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown remains the only vocal supporter, among Formula 1 team bosses, who sees the benefit of accepting Andretti Formula Racing’s bid to become the 11th team at the pinnacle of the sport.

The FIA, F1’s governing body did the due diligence and gave a resounding nod to the bid in . The final nod is required from Formula One Management, aka Liberty Media, and ultimately F1 Chief Stefano Domenicali.

Here it has stalled for some months as the other non-teams are disinterested, disdainful or both about the concept of having to share the F1 pie when times are booming. But the boom is in America largely, for a Eur-centric sport.

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While the novelty factor of the F1 is still enchanting America, the next phase is to retain the interest of the captive audience in a very competitive sporting landscape, where fans of any major sport are spoilt for choice many times over.

An 11th team, and even a 12th is the FIA’s call to make, and Liberty to rubber stamp or not. Unlike the collective F1 naysayers, the smart thinking is that a real American team is what F1 needs. Haas is United States owned by a disinterested Gene Haas. Guenther Steiner fronts the show, which is powered and built by Italians, with no American drivers in sight.

Traditionally Americans don’t do backmarkers well

Steiner: Haas F1 Team my idea, Gene had the money

Stateside F1 fans will hardly be waving star-spangled banners every time K-Mag or The Hulk drive past.

The issue? The F1 Pie of course! The size of it and the sharing of it among ten (not eleven) to be precise. The claim is Andretti will reduce the size of the slice of F1 Pie that teams currently rely on for funding.

None of the F1 team principals see that the Andretti-Cadillac (aka General Motors) is more likely to grow the pie, from Large to Extra Large, except McLaren boss Brown, an American. And he gets it more than his undiverse, mainly European F1 team boss.

Speaking on a Track Limits vlog last week, Brown said of the Andretti F1 bid: “The pros are they can help grow the pie. That pie can be fans, first and foremost; that can be television revenue; that could be increased exposure in a certain market that helps to bring in more sponsors; and excitement on the racetrack.

“The downside is if the pie doesn’t get larger, and then you’re just divvying up the same-sized pie, and that’s where I think the majority of the teams are. I think all of us are not that informed on what the actual proposal is, so everyone is running around with an opinion. I’ve not seen specifically what’s on the table.

“My view is as long as it adds to the sport, brings in more fans, brings in more revenue, brings in better television contracts, whatever that may be… If it makes the pie larger I’d rather have one 11th of a pie that’s 1,000 times than one-tenth of one that’s 100 times.”

Brown: Everyone has an opinion but not anyone is that educated on the proposition

Brown: Teams sollten Pläne für Andretti-Einstieg nicht in ...

“But ultimately the teams don’t have a vote in the matter, so we just need to be dependent upon Formula 1 and the FIA to make that decision as to whether they feel it’s additive. I think everyone has an opinion, but not anyone is that educated on actually what the proposition is,” ventured Brown.

Certain opinions are the FIA, whose boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem said that with Cadillac firmly on board with Andretti, even coming in as a PU-builder, F1 has an offer it can’t refuse. So the FIA stance is clear, hence the ‘file’ is now on Domenicali’s desk for it to happen or not.

The Andretti Clan – Michael and Mario mainly – are far less vocal and in F1’s face than they were earlier on in the year. They might’ve photobombed Las Vegas when F1 is in town, to ask some choice questions about why his project is being road-blocked.

Instead, as if they know something we don’t and can’t say, the F1 project is starting to take shape at the team’s HQ in Indianapolis, with some reports claiming they already have a 2023 F1-spec car in the wind tunnel.

This became known when Michael Andretti spoke to reporters about F1 team opposition to his bid during the United States Grand Prix weekend, at COTA in October: “They say we’re slicing the pie but I think the point is hopefully we bring in more than what we’re taking away and we believe that.

“I think that if you look at the fan support on all the surveys that have been done and things, we think we are going to add to it, not take away.”

Andretti: We think we have something really to offer the Formula 1 fans

andretti f1 factory

As the only one of three F1 bids to be accepted by the FIA, Andretti acknowledged: “It definitely shows we have the right to be here on the grid and we’re excited about that. We’re also really excited about the fan support.”

While teams argue for an elite, no consequences if you lose, closed to ‘outsiders’ franchise-style series, F1 fan forums, most pundits (who don’t depend on F1 team coffees and cakes in the paddock) are all demanding an 11th team ASAP.

Andretti elaborated: “The fan support has been overwhelming and I want to thank everybody out there for all your support because that means a lot. So we are very excited about the future. We think we have something really to offer the Formula 1 fans.”

Amid the apparent stalling by FOM (aka Domenicali) to make the final decision, regarding the timeline to be on the F1 grid, Andretti said: “At the moment we are still shooting for ’25,” Michael said when asked how the team is shaping up.

“Our car is going to be in the windtunnel next week [late October 2023]  so we have a car already built up in 2023 spec. So we’re flat out,” revealed Andretti.

Big Question: Why is F1 Chief Stefano Domenicali taking so long to rubber stamp Andretti Global as the 11th entry, when it’s a simple Yes or No?