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Andretti surprised by negativity surrounding F1 team plans

Michael Andretti has admitted he was surprised by the negative reaction that some Formula 1 teams have about his plans to enter the sport.

Michael Andretti

The American has lodged a request with the FIA to join the F1 grid from 2024, and is hoping to get an answer by next month so he can start ramping up preparations.

But while some current F1 teams believe Andretti's presence in grand prix racing would be hugely positive, others are more sceptical.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull chief Christian Horner have both made it clear that Andretti would need to prove the benefits for F1 as a whole if it was to be welcomed.

"Andretti is a name, that's for sure," said Wolff during pre-season testing at Barcelona in Spain. "And the American market is important. But every team that is joining needs to be accretive, that means needs to add value.

"And it's not only by paying $200 million entry fee, but it needs to demonstrate in my opinion what it can do for the other teams, for F1 and FIA. Only then the sport will grow."

Speaking in response to the comments made about his entry, Andretti told Autosport that he was surprised by the stance that some had shown.

"I was, I really was," he said. "I thought that it would be a no-brainer to get done and just go. But obviously nothing's that way in Formula 1."

He added: "We've lodged an entry, and just need approval. Hopefully people understand we're not diluting. That's what Toto says – we're diluting. No, we're not.

"First of all, we're bringing $200m, and second we feel we're going to add more than $100m to the bottom line just here in the US, with everything that's going on in having an American team and an American driver."

Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of Andretti Autosport

Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of Andretti Autosport

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Andretti has opted for a new team entry after talks with Alfa Romeo about a takeover collapsed at the 11th hour last year.

Reflecting on what happened there, Andretti said the situation was hard to accept.

"That was a joke," he said. "We were there. It was done. We had a day set up to sign it, and literally two days before, they changed the terms.

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"They basically still wanted to keep control. I was like, 'No, they can't keep control.' They wanted veto rights on everything all of a sudden. It was horrible.

"We wasted so much time. If we didn't do that, we'd have been so much further ahead on everything else."

Andretti has also sounded out Gene Haas about buying his F1 team but has so far been unsuccessful in his overtures.

"Gene Haas wouldn't sell," added Andretti. "I've asked five or six times."

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