It's been a rocky road for Michael Andretti's plans to make the Formula 1 grid come 2025 or 2026. The American racing organization has faced disdain by Europe's Billionaire Boys Club, even after securing as massive an automaker partner as there is in General Motors. Now, the Associated Press reports that F1 management went as far as asking the manufacturer to partner with someone else.
"[Michael] Andretti can make a case that keeping him out of F1 is indeed personal: Three different people with direct knowledge of the conversations confirmed to AP that F1 asked General Motors if it would partner with someone other than Andretti," wrote Jenna Fryer in her latest AP column.
Back in January, Andretti Global confirmed it would partner with the Cadillac brand to form the Andretti Cadillac F1 team. Earlier this month, F1's governing body, the FIA, approved Andretti Global's application—the only one it greenlit of seven applicants. It was at that point that things got serious, though it didn't quite mark a victory for Team Andretti yet.
As we've reported before, joining the F1 circus requires two approvals, at the very least. The first one is from the FIA—check. The second one is from Formula One itself, owned by media conglomerate Liberty Media, whose CEO is ousted Scuderia Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali but run parallel (and similarly to a mafia) by the current 10 F1 teams. That's the box Andretti is currently struggling to check. And as Fryer highlights, the world is starting to see through the team boss' claims that "it's not personal."
The constructors' stance is easy to understand: they don't want to split the money in more ways. As FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said before, "It’s about the money. It’s only about the money. That’s what’s personal. They don’t want to share the money."
What's not as easy to understand is F1's own reluctance to welcome Andretti and General Motors, especially given its desire to expand in the United States. Domenicali has reportedly been ghosting Michael Andretti during most of this process, though that's no surprise given his earlier remarks that the sport "has no need" for the new entry.
Things are so bad that when Mario Andretti presented Domenicali with an award from the National Italian American Foundation last week, he reportedly did not respond to a congratulatory text from Michael. Per the AP report, Michael had to essentially ambush Domenicali in Austin for a meeting.
Similar to high school drama, this situation between Andretti Global and F1 may have to be resolved in the principal's office if they can't amicably figure it out themselves. As Fryer cleverly said, that office may be the U.S. court of law.
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