Michael Andretti applies to field new F1 team with Andretti Global starting in 2024 season

Michael Andretti F1 team
James Black/Penske Entertainment

Michael Andretti has renewed his effort to own an F1 team, submitting an application to the FIA for entry into the Formula One series.

According to Road & Track and the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, Andretti and his Andretti Autosport team both have confirmed a tweet Friday afternoon from Mario Andretti.

In the social media post revealing his son’s plans, Mario Andretti wrote: “Michael has applied to the FIA to field a new F1 team starting in 2024. His entry, Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA’s determination.”

In a Friday interview with the Indianapolis Star, Mario Andretti said the proposed team would be based in England with a shop in Indianapolis. Andretti told the Star that an engine deal has been secured, and Andretti Global would be “ready to go the next day” if approved by the FIA.

Michael Andretti attempted to buy a majority stake in the Alfa Romeo team, but the deal fell apart last October. Andretti, who drove for McLaren during the 1993 F1 season, had said he still wanted to be involved as an F1 team owner, which would broaden a racing empire that fields cars in several series such as IndyCar, IMSA and Extreme E.

The most recent team to enter F1 was in 2016 with Haas F1, which is owned by American businessman Gene Haas. Fueled by a popularity boom often attributed to Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” series, F1 is expanding to two annual U.S. races next season in Miami and Austin (which announced a five-year extension Friday) and is exploring a third.

Andretti said last year about his potential F1 foray that he had planned for IndyCar star Colton Herta, 21, to “lead the way” as one of its drivers because “he’d be the perfect guy to do it. We definitely were going to try to get him into the seat because I believe he could be a competitive driver in Europe. I really do.”

Herta said last month that while Andretti’s dalliance with F1 was appealing, he would remain happy in the NTT IndyCar Series, which will begin its 2022 season Feb. 27 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Herta suggested he still had time to race F1 and then return to IndyCar.

“If you’re 28, you’re not going to Formula 1, unfortunately,” he said. “That’s just how it works. The time is right for me if I got the opportunity. I’d have to have a good think about it, but I most likely would do it because I want to run in Formula 1 at some point. I think people forget that I’m 21 years old and (can) come back in five years and still run 15 years in IndyCar and be 40.

“Yeah, I definitely want to give it a crack if I get the opportunity. But definitely not disappointed at all in IndyCar. I like this series more than any series in the world, and I enjoy racing in it a lot.”

Before excelling in Indy Lights in 2017-18 and becoming the youngest IndyCar winner in history as a 2019 rookie, Herta raced in Europe for two years.

Mario Andretti, the last American to win an F1 race and championship in 1978, said during a 2019 episode of “Coffee With Kyle” that he considers Herta the best U.S. prospect for F1 stardom.

Another young candidate from IndyCar is rising star Pato O’Ward. The Arrow McLaren SP driver has been open about his F1 aspirations and said “those opportunities, you have to take them as they come.”

Robert Wickens in the Indy 500? Bryan Herta making plans to field a car for next year

Robert Wickens Indy 500
Brett Farmer/LAT Images/IMSA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indy 500 as early as 2024 – a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He’s worked as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team since, but last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races (including the season opener at Daytona) driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that is fitted for Wickens to race strictly through hand controls. Herta said Thursday that perfecting that technology for an Indy car in the biggest race in the world has slowed the project he’s determined to do with Wickens.

‘I’M AS HUNGRY AS EVER’: Robert Wickens’ return to racing

“I’d love to take Robbie back to Indy because I know he could do that, and I think that would be a next step for him in his journey,” Herta told The Associated Press. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the logistical side of things, hand controls, and I think we have solutions for that.”

Herta said Honda has been supportive of the process, which Herta called “one of the most important things we’ve done in racing” last year.

“We actually looked at doing it this year, but the logistics of it, the timing, it just wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “That’s not something you can rush. There’s some things that we have to work very closely with IndyCar on, and things we just have to get right. It’s a process, but I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when told his boss was openly discussing the Indy 500, grinned widely. Herta as a team owner won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be fun,” he said of running the Indy 500.

But like Herta, Wickens said the effort has to be both done correctly and be competitive.

“We’d like to do it right. If we started right now, can we get a car ready for the open test in April? Probably,” Wickens told The AP. “But I don’t know where the systems would be and I want to get on proper simulators to make sure its correct.

“We all want to do a proper, professional effort,” he added. “I don’t want to do it for a marketing campaign. I want to do it for a chance to win.”

Wickens later tweeted about the possibility of racing the Indy 500 and said his goal was “always to get back to the top level of motorsport” whether it’s IndyCar or IMSA.

Wickens in 2021 did a demonstration in Canada that marketed advancements for paralyzed drivers and gave him a chance to again drive. His entire life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, just three months after winning top rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing last year and welcomed the birth of his first child, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with both race cars and the trip to Disney he took this week during the off days at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens, who uses a wheelchair but can stand with some support, marks a full year back racing on Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Despite success last season, Herta made changes to his lineups and Wickens this year will be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.