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Andretti Formula Racing

How the Andretti F1 bid is being aided by Toyota

Despite its initial rejection, Andretti is still hopeful of being granted a place on the F1 grid, even as early as 2026. One indispensable party to that is Toyota, or rather, Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe - the owners of the wind tunnel Andretti has been using for its F1 project.

Wind tunnel model in toyota co 2
To news overview © Andretti Autosport

In January, F1 emphatically rejected Andretti's bid to join the championship. The American motorsport giant had applied to become the eleventh member of the grid as early as 2025, but more likely 2026, when new power unit and chassis regulations come into force.

F1 deemed it to be an unrealistic target and slammed the door shut. However, the series did concede that it may look upon an application for the 2028 season differently.

Whilst Andretti continues to push full-steam ahead in pursuit of the F1 entry is desires, part of it's success will be contingent upon the continued relationship with a perhaps unlikely partner, Toyota.

The Japanese marque has not been a constructor in F1 for 15 years, but does still race in leading motorsport series around the world. Operating out of Cologne, Germany, as Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, the team boasts two wind tunnels - a legacy of its short-lived F1 stint from 2002-2009.

RacingNews365 visited the Toyota campus and spoke with wind tunnel manager Antonio Pavesi, who spoke about the departure of McLaren, with the team having used the facility for a number of years prior to commissioning its wind tunnel.

"It was sad to lose such an important customer like McLaren, but life goes on," Pavesi said.

"For a while there were some concerns about how we could keep the wind tunnels running, as one of the tunnels was used almost exclusively by McLaren, but fortunately we were able to find other projects."

			© RacingNews365
	© RacingNews365

'This allowed Andretti to build their aerodynamic process'

One notable project has been Andretti, with the American team approaching Toyota to enlist its services in its bid to made the F1 grid. At the Cologne campus, Andretti has access to two wind tunnels. One that runs models up to 50% size, and another that can accommodate full-scale cars.

"I don't remember exactly when they approached us, but it must have been in the middle of 2023," Pavesi replied, when asked when and how the relationship first came about.

"When preparing to enter Formula 1, it was important for them to be able to use a wind tunnel. This allowed Andretti to build their aerodynamic process. They contacted us and we ended up building a model for them here in Cologne, and then as early as the last months of 2023 that model was tested in the wind tunnel."

Pavesi went on to explain that some wind tunnel customers ask for models to be produced for them, which Toyota does do.

"It is more common," he said when asked how common a request that was from those using the the wind tunnel.

"We have customers who ask if they can come to us with their own models, but there are also customers who ask if we would design and build those models for them, we can take care of both."

RacingNews365 will publish the full interview with Antonio Pavesi in the coming weeks - keep an eye out on YouTube and RacingNews365's social media channels.

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