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Mario Andretti

Exclusive: Andretti provides F1 entry bid update and responds to Marko

1978 World Champion Mario Andretti has spoken exclusively to RacingNews365 as Andretti Cadillac Racing awaits the result of its F1 entry bid.

Mario Andretti US GP Austin 2019
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

Judgement day is looming for the prospective bidders who responded to the FIA's Expression of Interest process to join the F1 grid.

Perhaps the candidate that stoked the most intrigue was Andretti Global, with former Grand Prix racer Michael Andretti taking the chance to finally get a team on the grid.

When he tried previously to lobby team bosses at the 2022 Miami Grand Prix, only McLaren's Zak Brown and then-Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer indicated they would back the bid, as the other eight and F1 itself basically told Andretti to 'go away, come back with an OEM, and then we might reconsider.'

This is exactly what he did and he came back with a big one: General Motors.

GM manage to shift about six million vehicles a year, with Buick, Chevrolet and GMC among the divisions, but Andretti's bid came with GM backing for Cadillac to enter as a partner.

After the announcement of the project in January, FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem was delighted to welcome the bid, although the reception from F1 itself and incumbent teams was decidedly lukewarm at best.

Any team wishing to enter F1 must pay a $200 million 'anti-dilution' fee, designed to protect the current 10 squads from a loss of earnings under the new financial and revenue structures.

Should two new teams enter under the current EoI process, earnings for the current teams could fall by as much as 16 per cent - with the idea of having a smaller slice of a bigger pie surprisingly not attractive to some teams.

As the current Concorde Agreement stands, teams are not involved in the final decision-making process, but with the decision expected over the few weeks, Mario Andretti exclusively tells RacingNews365 that the hopeful outfit has done everything it has asked to do.

Andretti on the grid in 2025?

"From our standpoint, we're just going along with the process and trying to fill in all the boxes," Andretti exclusively told RacingNews365 of the hoped-for 2025 entry.

"We've done it all and now it is in [the FIA and F1's] hands and it is just a waiting situation now, but we should know something shortly.

"There is not a specific timeline, but we have been told early September [to expect a decision whether to grant entry.]

"Not only [is coming in in 2025] beneficial, but it is a key factor.

"That is something that's been put forward quite strongly and I think it makes sense.

"At first, [we were targetting] 2024, but as the process dragged on, 2025 became more feasible, and so that is what we are working towards."

Waiting situation

- There is not a specific timeline, but we have been told early September

Marko's comments and driver identity

Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko suggested the best option open to Andretti would be to buy the Alpine team from Renault.

Andretti had come close to an agreement to acquire the Sauber team in 2021 only for the deal to collapse at the 11th hour and responding to Marko's comments, 1978 World Champion Andretti Sr insisted: "We're obviously open to any opportunity.

"But a lot of it in that respect has been exhausted already quite honestly as far as buying another team."

One thing a racing team needs is drivers, with the identity of who could potentially race for Andretti-Cadillac still a mystery.

And while Andretti would not be drawn on who exactly would be in the cars if the application is successful, he did drop one or two hints.

"I can tell you for sure that there will be one American driver on the team, and the other will be an experienced one.

"It is not [a decision] that is going to be pulled from the air, it is part of the project and but you have to wait for everything else to officially take place [before announcing the drivers.]"

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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