Andretti wants to give American drivers "legitimate shot" in F1

Michael Andretti is eager to "pave the way" for American drivers to reach Formula 1 with a "legitimate shot" if his plan to form a new team is successful.

Andretti wants to give American drivers "legitimate shot" in F1

Andretti is currently pushing to establish an F1 operation that would join the grid from 2024 as an 11th team after seeing his bid to acquire Sauber, which operates the Alfa Romeo squad, fall apart late last year.

Although the FIA is yet to open up the official process for new teams to join F1, Andretti - the son of 1978 world champion Mario Andretti - was in Miami to try and gain support for his bid, holding meetings with the FIA, F1 and other team bosses.

But the reaction from teams has remained lukewarm amid concerns that an 11th team joining the grid would lead to the prize money fund being diluted and disrupting the current stability of the 10-team field.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he felt an American driver would be more effective for F1’s growth in the United States than adding an American team in the form of Andretti, which already has teams in IndyCar, Indy Lights, Formula E, Extreme E and Supercars.

Andretti disagreed with Horner’s assessment, explaining that only his new team would offer American drivers the opportunity they need to get into F1.

“We want to be an American team that wants to be developing American drivers for the future,” Andretti said.

“There’s nobody out there that’s doing that. That’s where we want to be. There’s no real legitimate road for an American driver to get into F1. There just isn’t.

“We want to pave the way to F1.”

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: IndyCar Series

Had Andretti’s bid to take over Sauber been successful, the plan was to place his IndyCar driver, Colton Herta, in one of the race seats. Herta completed some simulator running in Hinwil, and was being lined up for an FP1 appearance towards the end of last year before the deal fell apart.

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Andretti remains committed to fielding Herta as one of the drivers, calling him a “perfect example” of an American who should already be in F1.

“He should be in F1 right now, he’s got that talent, but they ran out of money, so they came back to the States,” Andretti said.

“So he went [the American] route. I want to make it where we can bring kids out of go-karts and give them the path, and if they’re good enough, they’ll hopefully get to Formula 1, and we’ll have the team to do it.

“And we would know they’re going to get a legitimate shot. There’s not going to be any that they’re out there full of fuel and they don’t know it, that type of thing.

“There’s going to be a legitimate deal.”

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