The United States could have another team in Formula 1 if the efforts of a former driver prove to be successful.
RACER has learned Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti has been actively pursuing an F1 team to acquire, with multiple sources pointing towards the 1993 McLaren F1 pilot being in discussions with representatives from more than one team, including Haas F1’s Gene Haas.
It’s understood the Haas conversation did not move beyond a basic outreach, which led to Andretti seeking another target in the F1 paddock. After Haas F1, it’s believed the two teams owned by investment firms – Alfa Romeo Sauber, which was sold to Longbow Finance S.A. in 2016, and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, which was bought by Dorilton Capital in 2020 – stand as the best options available for the 1991 CART IndyCar Series champion.
“It would be great, but there’s a long way to go if it were to happen,” Andretti told RACER. “If the right opportunity comes up, we’ll be all over it. But we’re not there yet.”
Haas has the obvious American link, but it has a close partnership with Ferrari, while Williams is a Mercedes customer – something it has in common with Zak Brown’s McLaren. Brown and Andretti are partners in other racing categories, having teamed up in Supercars, Australian GT and Extreme E. Independent of the McLaren CEO, Andretti fields a four-car IndyCar program, a two-car effort in Formula E, a four-car Indy Lights team and has an LMP3 entry in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
Alfa Romeo recently extended its title sponsorship in a deal that will have “yearly assessments”, but the F1 team is still run by Sauber Motorsport, based around a less-close partnership with Ferrari than Haas. The location of the Swiss-based team adds a further level of complexity to any deal, but it has an impressive windtunnel facility and a romantic link from Andretti’s point of view, as his father Mario drove for Alfa Romeo in F1 in 1981, as well as two separate stints with Ferrari.
Purchasing an existing F1 team – or at least a stake in one – is a far more economical approach since the signing of the latest Concorde Agreement in 2020 that introduced a $200 million buy-in fee for any new entrants. That fee would be split between the existing teams who would be losing a percentage of revenues as a result, but it had the impact of driving up the value of the 10 teams currently on the grid.
In March, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the new Andretti Acquisitions Corporation was revealed. In the document, AAC declared its goal of taking the company public in order to raise $250 million on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WNNR (winner).