In bid to start new F1 team, Michael Andretti encouraged by receiving direction in Miami

Michael Andretti Formula One
Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — Michael Andretti walked through the Formula One paddock quite literally going door-to-door. He wants into the most exclusive club in motorsports and figured pleading his case to the current team bosses was his best shot.

Andretti carried with him a white Miami Dolphins folder – he said he borrowed it from the promoters of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last weekend – and inside was a piece of paper asking the 10 current F1 team leaders to support the addition of Andretti Global to the grid.

By the time he made it to the end of the paddock, Andretti’s chances seemed grim. He left his conversation with Red Bull principal Christian Horner – held in the outdoor, open area of Red Bull hospitality – with only two signatures. Horner did not sign.

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Andretti didn’t even bother going next door to Mercedes, where boss Toto Wolff has not wavered in his opposition to adding teams because he believes that would dilute profits for those on the grid.

Andretti, who also mingled with other celebrities at the event, was discouraged but not defeated. By the time Sunday’s race began, he felt a lot better about his chances of returning the Andretti name to F1.

Andretti told The Associated Press he had an encouraging meeting with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. He said the same thing to new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem when they spoke before the race.

“We finally have some direction,” Andretti told AP. “It’s the first time we’ve been given any direction on how to make this happen.”

Just when it seemed that Andretti had no shot at cracking the country club – there’s a $200 million buy-in fee – he was given hope. It had to have been encouraging that Sulayem, who was elected head of F1’s governing body in December, not only recognized Andretti but stopped to lean into his ear for an exchange in which Sulayem did most of the talking.

The Andretti effort to field an American team was the talk of F1’s first race in Miami. The North American market at last has embraced the series – Sunday’s race on ABC was the most-watched live F1 race in U.S. history – and Andretti wants to expand the famed racing name.

Mario Andretti, Michael’s father, is the 1978 F1 champion and one of the greatest drivers in motorsports history. But there has not been an American driver in F1 since Alexander Rossi in 2015. The only current American team is Haas F1, which is owned by California businessman Gene Haas, partially headquartered in North Carolina but does not employ any American drivers.

Michael Andretti, who spent the 1993 season commuting back and forth from the U.S. to Europe to drive for McLaren in F1, wants to put IndyCar driver Colton Herta of California in his seat.

Andretti maintains he’s committed to a true effort and argues an American team with an American driver can only add to F1’s financial worth. He figures Andretti involvement will help all existing teams court North American sponsorship.

Wolff has yet to see any benefit to expanding the grid to anyone and estimates F1’s current successful teams have “put more than a billion into the Formula 1 projects over the years.”

“We have 10 entries today, we divide the prize fund among those 10 entries,” Wolff said. “If a team comes in, how can you demonstrate that you’re bringing in more money than it’s actually costing? The 11th team means a 10% dilution for everybody else. So, if one is able to demonstrate that, then we should all be sitting on the table and cheer for such an entry. But that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.”

Zak Brown, the head of McLaren Racing, joined Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi as the only F1 team leaders to sign Andretti’s form in Miami. Brown, a Californian, has a long relationship with the Andrettis and announced Tuesday he will let Mario Andretti drive a McLaren F1 car at the U.S. Grand Prix in October.

He believes Andretti Global would be a benefit.

“A very credible racing team with a credible brand, with the right resources, I think is additive to the sport,” Brown said. “That appears to be what Michael has put together. So, on that basis, we are supportive.”

Rossi said he believes adding an American team “goes along with the expansion in the U.S.” There are two F1 races in the United States this year for the first time since 1984, and a 2023 trip to Las Vegas will make three American races on the schedule.

“An American team will directly generate interest in the U.S., and therefore, revenue,” Rossi said. “We need to demonstrate that it’s enough to compensate for the dilution that Toto was mentioning. Gut feeling? I think he would.”

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports