Andretti cautiously optimistic about F1 bid: “Hoping for a positive decision”

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Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski

Prior to the British Grand Prix, a number of team bosses commented on the possible addition of an eleventh team to the Formula 1 grid. They brought up some far-sought reasons like safety concerns to give the appearance that the current reluctance is not just financial in nature. Mercedes principal Toto Wolff was quite clear on how new entrants should proceed: “buy a team”, rather than starting a new one.

Michael Andretti, owner of main candidate Andretti Autosport, has now responded to these comments, saying: “We’ve tried. Nobody’s interested, nobody’s selling.”

“I mean, we’ve been to every single team,” he continued. “They keep saying, ‘Well, buy a team’, [but] nobody wants to sell.”

“You go there and they’re not even interested in talking. So yeah, I’ve been there, done that, not happening.”

A previous attempt at buying Sauber failed, but the 1991 IndyCar champion dismissed the idea that Formula 1 teams disrespect the Andretti name.

“I don’t really pay attention to that,” he said, followed by explaining that he understands the current grid protecting their interests.

“Everybody has their own reasons why they’re doing things. They’re trying to protect their own interests, which you can’t blame them.

“You know, I said things before, I probably used the wrong word. I shouldn’t have said ‘greed’ but everybody’s been looking out for themselves,” he said in reference to the backlash he faced.

“When I said that, I got criticised because I said ‘greed’, but if I was in their situation, I’d probably do the same thing. So I don’t blame the teams. They all are going to look at it for themselves, because that’s what they need to do to be competitive.

“So they’ve got to make sure that they protect that and I understand that’s what they’re trying to do. But in the end, they’re not going to be the ones that make the decision. It’s going to be up to the series and the FIA to decide if it’s the right individual.”

Andretti, who himself drove 13 Grands Prix next to Ayrton Senna in 1993, expects that the governing body will have made a decision “probably closer to the end of the month,” saying they’re “hoping for a positive decision.”

“I feel good. I mean, we checked every box. I feel good, but you know, feeling good and reality are always two different things.

“We just have to wait and see what happens,” he added. “I think we have everything we need to go in and be competitive and be respectful and add to the series. That’s what we feel.”