Zak Brown, the CEO of the McLaren F1 Team, says it would be stupid not to think about the future of Formula 1 and allow Andretti Global an entry into the sport, and it is ‘short-sighted’ of teams to not support the move.
Michael Andretti has opened talks with the FIA about entering Formula 1 as soon as the 2024 season as an eleventh team on the grid after talks last year broke down with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN outfit about taking over the Hinwil-based outfit.
However, the likes of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Toto Wolff and Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner have doubted Andretti Global would bring value to Formula 1, something Brown disagrees with.
“I think Andretti as a name, as a highly credible racing team, and knowing who his backers are, and who he is, they will no doubt help us grow the sport in North America,” said Brown to Motorsport.com. “I think the teams that may not support another team are being short-sighted.
“Are we trying to grow the sport? Or are we doing what racing teams have a bad tendency to do, which is think about today and not the future.”
Brown believes the Andretti name will help Formula 1 continue its recent growth into the United States, and even once the dilution payment – the $200 million entry fee – is gone, the benefits would hugely outweigh the negatives of a second American team on the grid.
“There is the dilution payment, which kind of covers you for a couple of years,” said Brown. “But you have to assume that Andretti will help us grow in North America, which will compensate for any dilution.
“If that is $100 million, can they help us grow $100 million more in revenue for the sport through TV and interest in sport? I think so.
“And the easiest thing after is to continue to look to reduce expenditure. In three or four year’s time, after the dilution payment is no longer in, just reduce our budget by $10 million a year.”
Brown says the Andretti name is legendary in motorsport, with Michael’s father Mario Andretti a former Formula 1 World Champion, while Michael himself is a multiple champion in IndyCar as well as a successful team owner in a multitude of different racing series.
“His father’s a world champion, he’s driven in F1 and he’s got multiple racing teams,” Brown said. “I know who his financial backers are, and they are exactly the type of investors you would want in motor sport.
“Also, you can only have 12 teams on the grid. So once you have 12, you’re really in a situation where the only way to enter the sport is to acquire. So I think it will also further enhance the value of all the teams.
“Again, I think it’s short sighted to not want other credible teams to come in because of dilution.”