Andretti apply for F1 team entry in 2024

  • FIA says not in a position to consider fresh interest
  • Potential entry comes amid surge in popularity for F1 in the U.S.

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Formula One’s governing FIA said it is not currently in a position to consider interest from new teams, after former world champion Mario Andretti said his son Michael had applied to put a third American-owned outfit on the grid by 2024.

Andretti senior announced the news on Twitter and in a subsequent interview with the Indianapolis Star said the team had even secured a power unit partner.

"His (Michael Andretti's) entry, Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA's determination," the 1978 world champion wrote on Twitter.

“They’re far enough along that, if they get the approval to be added to the 10 teams that exist in F1, they’re ready to go the next day and put everything in place," he later told the paper, adding the team would be based in England with the cars built in Indianapolis.

The application, if successful, would make Andretti Global the sport's third U.S.-owned squad after Haas and Williams, which was acquired by Dorilton Capital in 2020.

New York-based investment group MSP Sports Capital also has a significant minority stake in McLaren.

The FIA, however, said it was not yet considering any new teams.

“The FIA is not currently in a position to consider or comment on any expressions of interest or applications received from potential new entrant teams in respect of the FIA Formula One World Championship,” said a spokesperson for the Paris-based body.

Michael Andretti, who already has interests in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and sportscars, held talks to buy Alfa Romeo last year.

The former IndyCar champion who briefly raced in F1 for McLaren, in November said the negotiations broke down over “control issues”.

Commercial rights holders Formula One Management, who were acquired by U.S.-based Liberty Media in 2017, did not comment, but have previously described the sport’s current count of 10 teams as a good number.

F1 has had limited success with new teams in the recent past, with Haas, who joined in 2016, the exception.

It has put in place measures like a cost cap and a fairer revenue distribution structure to put its existing teams on a stronger financial footing.

It has also introduced a $200 million entry fee for new teams to protect existing competitors against a dilution of their share of the prize money.

But the U.S. is a key market for F1, where it has seen a surge in popularity, driven largely by Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’.

The country will have at least two races on the calendar for the next five years in Austin and Miami, which is set to make its debut this season, while there has been talk of a third race in Las Vegas.

American companies have also been stepping up their involvement in F1.

"They’re all set," said Mario Andretti of his son's potential entry in the interview with the Indianapolis Star.

"They’re going in with their eyes wide-open with all the prerequisites."

Reporting by Aadi Nair and Abhishek Takle; Editing by William Mallard and Toby Davis

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