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Michael Andretti

Exclusive: Andretti invests in wind tunnel boost as hoped-for F1 entry bid continues

Andretti is using the Toyota facility in Cologne to develop its car as it continues to push for a place on the F1 grid

Michael Andretti
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Andretti Global has contributed significantly to upgrading Toyota's wind tunnel facility as part of its concerted push to secure a place on the Formula 1 grid, RacingNews365 has learned.

Since 2010, Toyota has loaned out its Cologne-based facility to numerous teams from a variety of series seeking to improve the aerodynamics of their cars.

It followed Toyota's decision to withdraw from F1 at the end of 2009 as a result of the global credit crisis that year, and after an eight-season bid to crack F1 that proved to be a catastrophic and highly expensive failure.

In an attempt to recoup some of the losses, particularly after investing heavily in what was a state-of-the-art wind tunnel at the time, the facility hire has proven beneficial.

McLaren was one of the main beneficiaries as it developed its cars for 12 years before developing its own wind tunnel that went online midway through last year.

The building comprises two continuous steel belt rolling road tunnels that can operate at a maximum speed of 70 metres per second. Both are capable of up to 60% model testing, with one equipped for full-size cars.

Following McLaren's departure, Andretti stepped in and now has exclusive use, a commitment that resulted in the facility being modernised.

Scale model running

A scale model car is constantly being tested at present, despite the fact Andretti does not have an entry to F1.

Over a year ago, an Expressions of Interest process initiated by the FIA culminated in Andretti formally being accepted by world motor sport's governing body in early October, albeit pending approval from F1 regarding its suitability.

F1's team principals bemoaned the prospect of an 11th team, primarily on financial grounds, believing Andretti's arrival would mean a smaller share of the prize fund that had grown considerably since the arrival of Liberty Media as owners.

A four-month investigation concluded with F1 rejecting Andretti on numerous grounds, notably declaring it "would not...provide value to the championship".

Undaunted, and with the support of General Motors via its Cadillac brand, Michael Andretti has continued to build his team and develop a car to compete from 2026 when new power unit regulations come into force.

The process of upgrading the Toyota wind tunnel has been one of the many projects Andretti has pursued over the past few months, ensuring the facility is again unparalleled in terms of its design and capability.

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