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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Michael Andretti said Friday that his father revealed his Formula One aspirations last week to show the FIA there is strong public support for an expansion team, adding that he would need a decision from motorsports’ governing body in the next month to be properly prepared for a 2024 debut.
Mario Andretti a week ago surprisingly took to Twitter to outline his son’s plans, writing that Andretti Global had applied to the FIA for a new team in time for the 2024 season and was awaiting a decision. The move drew immediate attention not just around Formula One but in IndyCar.
Amid preparations for IndyCar’s opener Sunday in St. Petersburg, Michael Andretti said he had expected the FIA’s decision in early January. He said he and his father, the 1978 F1 champion, have grown restless as the application sits and hoped publicizing his plans would show the FIA the value the Andretti name could bring to the series.
“We feel that we got a lot of support from fans, and hopefully that can help anyone see how we could help the series,” Michael Andretti said. “We feel like we bring a lot to the party.”
Formula One will have two races in the United States this season and is expected to add a third stop, in Las Vegas, to future calendars. F1 has exploded in popularity in the U.S. since American company Liberty Media bought the series, and the “Drive to Survive” Netflix docuseries gave viewers a behind-the-scenes window into the globetrotting series.
The series does not have an American driver, something Andretti plans to correct by bringing 21-year-old Californian Colton Herta with him should his plans move forward. Andretti attempted to buy the Sauber team last year and would have put Herta in one of the cars had the deal not collapsed, prompting him to file the application with the FIA in December.
“With Liberty and what they are doing in pushing the U.S. market, you know, if we were to have a U.S. team with a U.S. driver, I think that would go a long way for the popularity of Formula One in the United States,” Andretti said.
He said the $200 million entry fee would be paid by business partners in Andretti Global. Andretti would not reveal who is funding his effort.
However, Andretti said he would prefer to purchase a current team and said he has reached out to Haas owner Gene Haas “millions of times” to try to purchase that team.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haas on Friday removed the logos of its Russian sponsor from its cars during F1’s preseason test in Spain, while team principal Guenther Steiner said he was not sure if Russian driver Nikita Mazepin will be able to compete this season.