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Formula 1

F1 team bosses react to Andretti's entry plans

With Michael Andretti having stated his intention to enter F1 in the coming years, what do existing team bosses think of a potential new arrival on the grid?

Abu Dhabi Start 2021
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

News that Michael Andretti is set to form a new F1 team to join the grid in the coming years has met with a mixed response from current team bosses.

Andretti's father, Mario, revealed earlier this month that Michael had applied to the FIA to join F1 in 2024, after an attempted takeover of the Sauber-run Alfa Romeo team fell through last year.

If his new entry bid is successful, Andretti would bring a second United States-led team to the current F1 grid – following on from Haas.

F1 have enjoyed significant growth in the US in recent years, thanks in part to the success of the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive.

After arriving on the calendar in 2012, the Circuit of the Americas has become a firm fixture, recently signing a new five-year deal running through 2026, with Miami also set to host a race this year and a third North American event - potentially in Las Vegas - due to follow.

McLaren, Alpine in favour of Andretti F1 team

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of F1's first pre-season test in Barcelona earlier this week, several Team Principals offered their thoughts on Andretti's mooted arrival on the grid, with McLaren's Andreas Seidl notably in favour of the new venture.

"We definitely would welcome the Andretti team, because the Andretti name and [a] US team would help to grow the sport further in the US," said Seidl.

"It would also open up more possibilities to get young drivers in, the more teams we have.

"The earlier we get to 12 teams, which is the maximum we can have, it would help to drive the franchise value even higher, so we'd love to compete with them."

The Andretti camp claim to have a "formal agreement" in place to run Renault power units, and Laurent Rossi, CEO of the French firm's Alpine F1 team, said he would look forward to more on-track competition.

"I think [an Andretti entry] could have potential because of the US aspect of it," said Rossi, prior to the latest Andretti comments.

"I think it would be nice to spice things up on the track as well. It's better to move the hierarchy a little bit over time."

Wolff urges caution over Andretti bid

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was less enthusiastic about Andretti's arrival, however, citing the enormous costs necessary for a new team to enter the sport and be competitive.

These include a $200 million anti-dilution fee that any team entering F1 is required to pay to compensate existing squads for the potential loss of income, as the existing prize purse would be distributed between more teams.

"The American market is important, but every team that is joining needs to add value and demonstrate what it can do for the other teams, for Formula 1 and the FIA," said Wolff.

"We are the absolute pinnacle. This is [like] the Champions League or the NFL, and redistributing franchises isn't the goal, that's not how it should be.

"[In addition to] the $200 million, you probably need more than $1 billion if you want to play in this club straight from the get-go."

Horner, Tost unsure on new venture

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said he was happy to see new organisations wanting to enter F1, but cautioned that existing protocols would have to be followed.

"I think it's great that there's interest from people wanting to enter F1," said Horner.

"The Andretti name is certainly a powerful name in motorsport, and they're not the only ones making noises about coming in.

"But there is a clear criteria through the Concorde Agreement that has to be met and approved, so I'm sure they're engaged in that process.

"And of course, that [anti-dilution] agreement is there to protect the 10 incumbents, so that would need to be carefully looked at."

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost: said: "We are 10 teams, and I think 10 really good teams, and at the end, this decision comes from the FIA and from FOM.

"If Andretti wants to come with a new team, and if all the ingredients are coming together, and if all the other teams accept it, then yes. Otherwise, no."

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