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‘Snobs’ attitudes show F1 remains a ‘European club’ – Andretti

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The “snobbish” attitude of the existing Formula 1 teams towards the Andretti project shows that it remains a “European club” that sees others as “a threat”, according to Michael Andretti.

And he also feels F1 is being complacent if it thinks Netflix’s Drive to Survive series has been enough to permanently win over an American fan base.

Andretti’s latest broadside towards establishing F1 comes in a joint interview with father Mario for GQ magazine.

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“I’m trying to remind them that there are 350 million people in this country and, yes, there has been an increase in interest here with Drive to Survive, but they shouldn’t be content with what they have,” Andretti said. .

“We are only scratching the surface. They’ve caught the interest of all these new fans, but the fans are a bit fickle.

“They are sure that now they have the American audience. But you need a hook to keep them in the future. And we feel like we can be that hook.

“We are a true American team, we have a true American driver. Now it’s, Oh, there really is something that the country can support. That’s where I think our courage really kicks in, to keep that fan they just got.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Miami Grand Prix Race Day Miami USA

The plan to enter the F1 grid in 2024 with an entirely new team under the Andretti Global banner first surfaced in February after Andretti’s push to enter F1 by taking over what is currently Alfa Romeo it collapsed last year.

Although Andretti submitted documents to the FIA ​​about his proposal, he does not appear to be any closer to being invited to join the series.

Current F1 teams are reluctant given the franchise model under which the championship now operates, which means an 11th team would eat up the prize fund shares of the existing 10, and it is understood that F1’s preference for an additional team it would be a manufacturer project, such as an Audi Factory Team instead of Andretti.

F1 technically already has an American team in the form of Haas. Although it operates from a base in the United Kingdom, its official headquarters is the facility in Kannapolis where owner Gene Haas’ Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR team is based.

Andretti is also understood to be planning a European operating base for his team.

Both Andrettis reference Michael’s unhappy F1 spell as a driver in 1993.

He joined McLaren from CART Indycar, where he had been champion in 1991, but was dropped before the end of an incident-filled season in which he only managed one podium finish.

“It was a definitive European club,” Michael said of F1 in 1993.

“And I have the feeling that it is still the European club, the way they treat us. Because we would be a threat. The first real international team.

“It is a very snobbish approach that they are taking. Ultimately, we are going to add more value than we are going to take away.”

His father Mario, the 1978 F1 champion, added: “I’m the one with all the connections. And I don’t have an ax to grind. Michael does. And some of that doesn’t help.

“You know, unfortunately, he, as a driver, had such a negative experience. He definitely joined the best team at the worst possible time. And then: the circumstances…”

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Michael Andretti toured the F1 paddock trying to get the support of the teams during the Miami Grand Prix in May. So far, only McLaren and Alpine have come out publicly in support of Andretti’s plan, with both having a degree of vested interest.

McLaren boss Zak Brown partnered with Andretti on the Andretti United team in Extreme E and Supercars, with Alpine supplying Andretti with F1 engines through the Renault brand.

Andretti said the number of teams supporting his offer is greater than that, but admitted about half the field is resisting, which he put down to greed and self-interest.

“I think we have four or five who are definitely on our side. But the others have their hands out: ‘What are we going to get out of that?’” she said.

“That’s what it’s all about, and everyone is being myopic.

“I’m saying, ‘Okay, you can get that now, but what about what we think we can bring to the future?’

“But they don’t care about that. They don’t care about the series. They only care about themselves. But that’s how F1 is, it’s always been that way.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been one of the most vocal opponents of Andretti’s effort, saying he would need to do more to show he would bring additional value to F1.

Andretti believes that Wolff is using the dilution of the prize fund as a cover for concerns about losing political influence.

“He’s using that as an excuse,” he said.

“But you can tell he’s looking at it and thinking, ‘I’m going to have one less vote. It’s going to be one more vote against me,’ that’s the way she’s thinking about it.

“I knew pretty well what we were getting into here. You are swimming with the sharks. So, you better make sure you have your harpoon with you. I am not naive about it.

“Maybe I was naive when I started doing it when I was a driver, but probably because of that experience, I’m not naive now. They all have their knife and they’re ready to stab you in the back.”

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