F1 CEO says Michael Andretti ‘quite vocal’ about new team, but there’s process to follow

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary
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Formula One has multiple inquiries from potential team owners who have taken a more behind-the-scenes approach than Michael Andretti, who has been “quite vocal” in his desire to expand the current grid, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said Wednesday.

Andretti has petitioned to expand the current F1 grid to 22 cars to accommodate Andretti Global, which he’s billing as a true American team. Andretti has taken that route after attempts to purchase an existing F1 team fell apart late last year.

He said this week he’s building a 575,000 square-foot facility on roughly 90 acres in Fishers, Indiana, to house Andretti Global. But he’s still no closer to landing an F1 team, and Domenicali offered very little update specific to Andretti.

“The status of Formula One, it is not a problem of quantity,” Domenicali said. “It’s a matter of understanding not only the ones who have a bigger, louder voice, but there will be other people because Andretti was quite vocal about his request.

“But there are others that have done the same in a different way. So we will listen not only to Andretti, but to others that are respecting the silence on trying to be more productive on proving who they are and respecting the protocol.”

At issue is what value – if any – comes with expanding the current 20-car grid.

Mercedes head Toto Wolff has been vehemently against expansion and argued it only will decrease profits as the pot would be split between 11 teams instead of 10. But McLaren boss Zak Brown has argued adding the Andretti name would increase North American interest and signing U.S.-based sponsors based on Andretti’s participation would compensate for any dilution to the purse.

Wolff has dismissed the notion the Andretti name brings any value to F1. Mario Andretti is the 1978 F1 world champion; Michael Andretti spent one unremarkable season driving in the series.

And even though Andretti has had discussions with Renault about entering F1, Wolff has been supportive only of a potential Audi-backed effort.

“Andretti is a great name, and I think they have done exceptional things in the U.S.,” Wolff recently said. “But this is sport and this is business and we need to understand what is it that you can provide to the sport.”

The resistance has irritated Mario Andretti, who replied on Twitter to a question asking if Wolff is too powerful for F1 with: “This needed to be said; it’s about time.”

Domenicali said Wednesday that Wolff has earned his respect in F1 and is a credible voice in the series. He also indicated all the back-and-forth on the Andretti issue is a moot point because the decision will be made by a governing body and not Wolff and the current team principals.

“Mario, I know him very, very well, and he is trying to present his idea in a way that he thought is the right way to do that,” Domenicali said. “But I do believe there is a governance in place, and the decision has to follow the process, and the protocol that is in place.

“Mario is very vocal, Michael is, too. We need to respect that we may have a difference of opinions, but at the end of the day it is a matter of following the protocol, and there is someone that is to make the final decision.”

2023 MotoGP schedule announced, highlighted by trips to India and Kazakhstan

2023 MotoGP schedule
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A new opening venue and the addition of two Grands Prix in India and Kazakhstan will highlight the 2023 MotoGP schedule.

The 2023 MotoGP season will kick off March 24th with the opening round in Portugal instead of the typical trip to Qatar. Work on the Losail International Circuit pushed their date back to the penultimate weekend after the series finishes a series of races around the Pacific Rim.

Following Portugal, MotoGP heads to Argentina and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for their only visit to the United States before heading back to Europe for most of the next 10 rounds.

Interrupting the long European stint will be the series’ first visit to the Sokol International Circuit in Kazakhstan on July 7, 2023. The traditional summer break will be three weeks and then MotoGP heads to England for the British GP in August.

After three more European rounds at Austria, Catalunya and San Marino, the second new date on the calendar will come on the 16-turn, Buddh International Circuit for a September 24 race date. Both the India and Kazakhstan races are subject to homologation and approval by the circuit.

The next six races will be held in Asia and Oceania before Qatar and Valencia close out the schedule.

“We’re very proud to announce that Buddh International Circuit will be on the 2023 calendar,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, which manages the series. “We have a lot of fans in India and we’re excited to be able to bring the sport to them.

“India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world. We very much look forward to racing at Buddh International Circuit and can’t wait to welcome the fans through the gates to see this incredible sport in person.”

One of two new races announced for 2022, in Finland, did not materialize this season and has not been added to the 2023 MotoGP schedule. In addition, the Aragon GP has been removed to keep the rounds at 21.

2023 Provisional Schedule

Portugal GP, Algarve, March 26
Argentina GP, Termas de Río Hondo, April 2
American GP, Circuit of the Americas, April 16
Spanish GP, Jerez, April 30
French GP, Le Mans, May 14
Italian GP, Mugello, June 11
German GP, Sachsenring, June 18
Dutch GP, Assen, June 25
Kazakhstan GP, Sokol, July 9 *
British GP, Silverstone, August 6
Austrian GP, Red Bull Ring, August 20
Catalan GP, Catalunya, September 3
San Marino GP, Misano, September 10
Indian GP, Buddh, September 24 *
Japanese GP, Motegi, October 1
Indonesia GP, Mandalika Street Circuit, October 15
Australian GP, Philip Island, October 22
Thailand GP, Chang International Circuit, October 29
Malaysian GP, Sepang, November 12
Qatar GP, Losail International Circuit, November 19
Valencia GP, Ricardo Tormo, November 26

* subject to approval