Michael Andretti details plans for proposed F1 team in 2024; hopes for approval within month

Michael Andretti F1 2024
Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment
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ST PETERSBURG, Florida – Michael Andretti said his dream of entering Formula One with a new team in the 2024 F1 season is predicated on the series’ U.S. momentum.

Owned by an American company, adding a second U.S. Grand Prix this season and experiencing spikes in viewership with the popularity of the “Drive to Survive” series on Netflix, F1 seems primed for the arrival of Andretti Global, which would move star Colton Herta over from IndyCar.

That’s our case,” Andretti said Friday on the opening day of NTT IndyCar Series practice for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. “The American market is still untapped, but obviously with the Netflix series, that’s really brought a lot of popularity, and I believe we can bring more longevity to the Netflix series to have a real American team with an American driver.

“I believe with our brand it could keep a lot of interest going for a lot more years. Because everything fades out over time, but I think this would help the longevity of Netflix series.”

In his first expansive comments since his legendary father revealed the F1 plan last week, the Andretti Autosport team owner said he hopes to gain approval within a month “otherwise we’ll be thrashing.” After his deal collapsed last October to buy a majority stake in the Sauber/Alfa Romeo, Andretti began talking with the FIA on forming his own F1 team and submitted paperwork in December.

Andretti said he had expected to have received approval already, but the process apparently has been delayed by the controversy around the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi and “a lot of pushback” from teams wary of expanding the 10-team grid of 20 cars.

Andretti said that was the reason why Mario Andretti sent the tweet Feb. 18 revealing the F1 plan.

“We wanted to get it out there,” Michael Andretti said. “We wanted them to see that we feel that we can get a lot of support from the fans and hopefully that can help Formula One see how it could help the series. We feel we bring a lot to the party, especially with Liberty and what they’re doing in the U.S., pushing the U.S. market. If we were to have a U.S. team, a U.S. driver, I think that would go a long way for the popularity of Formula One in the United States.”

While declining to name his investors, Andretti said he has assembled a group that can pay the $200 million entry fee that would be shared among F1 teams (and that he estimated as four years of prize money).

“They’re in sports already and they think Formula One is very attractive at the moment with what they’re all doing with the cost cap, the popularity in the U.S. growing,” Andretti said. “The timing is perfect, and they think it’s a great series to be involved in.

“It’s great for our brand. We always wanted to get to the pinnacle. This is the pinnacle of auto racing. For us, there are other series I’m looking at getting involved in, too, and being in all the top races and series in the world, that’s our goal and my partners’ goal.”

Andretti was optimistic about swaying the opinion of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who recently said Andretti would need to prove worthy of joining the F1 grid and “probably would need more like a billion” to be competitive.

“I think once we can get to him and explain to him where it’s going to bring more value to the series and hopefully raise the price from having us involved and getting more American companies involved,” Andretti said of Wolff. “The biggest sponsorship in the history of racing was an American company. I think there’s a lot more out there if we can continue to grow the popularity here.”

Andretti said the F1 team also is “a long way down the road with a manufacturer” (there has been speculation that Alpine would be the most likely candidate to build its engines).

“I think we check every box,” Andretti said. “There’s nothing we should us hold back from being accepted.

Other details that Andretti revealed Friday:

–The new team eventually would be headquartered in Indianapolis (where Andretti wants to have all of his teams – IndyCar, IMSA, Extreme E, etc. – under one roof for the first time) with an engineering staff in England. He expects to hire more than 500 team members for F1.

“I’m very excited about the talent I think we can get in the team,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest. We’ve talked to a lot of people. They’re just sitting on the sideline waiting to see this thing go, and we can build a real credible team. I’m excited if we can get the approval, we can come in looking good.”

–He talked as recently as last October with Gene Haas about buying the only current American-owned team in F1, but Haas didn’t want to sell. With Haas F1 having been affected by the ongoing Ukraine invasion because of its Russian sponsors, Andretti remains interested and estimated he could close a deal in three months and enter F1 by 2023 if Haas changed his mind.

“If he wants to sell, tell him to call me,” Andretti said. “That makes it a lot easier for us.”

–Mirroring the ladder structure of his Indy Car/Indy Lights organization, Andretti also would like to run in F2 and F3 to support his F1 team.

“I’d really like to get the kids, when they’re out of go-karts, get them over there and get some good Americans,” Andretti said. “And then we’d support one driver that we thought could be the next ‘Colton’. That’s our ultimate goal. We know how to do those types of teams and cars pretty well. It’s no different than doing an Indy lights team.”

–Asked if a lingering jump to F1 would be a distraction for Herta, Andretti said, “No, I think it’s good for him. It’s good for his head to know that he’s got that; that he’s wanted in that way. I was all abuzz when I was in my heyday and talking about going to F1 for years, and that’s when I won most of my races. So I think it’s a positive thing.”

Andretti indeed scored 27 of his 42 career CART/IndyCar victories before his brief foray into F1 in 1993.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage