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Andretti Formula Racing

Andretti told to follow 'Audi model' as F1 entry hopes dim

Andretti's hopes of making it to the Formula 1 grid appear dimmer than ever.

Michael Andretti Mario Andretti
To news overview © XPBimages

Andretti has been told that adopting the 'Audi model' is the "right path" if it wants to continue with its efforts to get onto the Formula 1 grid. 

Michael Andretti responded to the FIA's launching of an Expression of Interest period for new F1 teams in January 2023, with the bid subsequently being accepted by the FIA on technical and sporting grounds. 

This passed Andretti's bid onto financial and commercial talks with F1 as the commercial rights holder, although it and the existing 10 teams were lukewarm towards Andretti, with the teams concerned about potentially sharing a smaller slice of the overall prize money pie, with Andretti needing to pay the $200 million anti-dilution fee for new teams set out in the Concorde Agreement.

That is currently being re-negotiated to come into force for 2026, with the anti-dilution fee expected to rise. 

Andretti's bid was rejected by F1, although the door was left ajar for 2028 if power unit partner General Motors can produce a viable power unit, with one of Andretti's earliest backers, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem also indicating that the team should look at buying one of the existing 10 teams. 

This is what Audi has done ahead of its own 2026 arrival, buying Sauber, which is currently running the Stake name for '24 and '25, with Nico Hulkenberg signed as one driver and Carlos Sainz heavily-touted as the other.

Stake team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi believes this is the correct model for any team wanting to enter F1.

"I think that Audi shows the right path to come to Formula 1," he told media including RacingNews365. 

"Of course, Cadillac is a big player and it qualifies this project as a potentially good project, but there is a way that is to buy into an existing team. 

"The process put in place by Formula 1 is a clear one, it is a very robust project. So I think that [Andretti] knows which could be the way [to enter F1]."

Horner backs Audi call

In recent weeks, Andretti has received public backing from the United States Congress with 1978 world champion Mario attending meetings on Capitol Hill.

A bipartisan Congressional delegation wrote to Liberty Media and F1 seeking answers, with a group of Senators also following suit. 

The powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan has also opened an investigation, with Andretti claiming that Liberty chief Greg Maffei told him at the Miami Grand Prix that the team would "never" enter F1.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also asked about the situation, and backed Bravi's idea of Andretti needing to buy their way in.

"Andretti has great racing heritage, Mario is a legend of the sport, and Cadillac is a huge automotive manufacturer from the US," he said.

"Formula 1 has said in 2028, if they were to come with their own engine, they would obviously, review it, but in addition to that, I think that if Andretti were to want to come, a little like Audi acquired Sauber, I think to protect the current franchise and stability that we have in the sport, then obviously their best route to goal is to acquire one of the existing teams.

"I think that this isn't about anything to do with Andretti being American or anything like that. I think it's purely down to the business model that is Formula 1. 

"I remember not so long ago that there would always be two teams at the tail end of the grid needing to be bailed out or being technically insolvent. 

"We finally got into a position where there's great strength and health in Formula 1 and Liberty has to be congratulated for that because they've created a model where even the worst team in Formula 1 probably has a billion-dollar valuation.

"Liberty has created that model. I think the approach that they bought by opening the sport as well and bringing a new fandom and new fans into the sport, they have to be commended on.

"I was surprised to see that Andretti has gone down this process but hopefully if they really want to find a way onto the grid they will find it, but I think the most natural solution is for them to acquire an existing franchise should one want to sell."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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