1978 world champion is disappointed at Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s comments regarding the possible entry of an Andretti team into the sport.
Former McLaren driver and podium finisher Michael Andretti has submitted an application to the FIA to have a team on the grid for the 2024 season after a failed attempt last year to purchase the Sauber group.
The Concorde agreement of 2021 dictates that new entries must pay a $200 million fee in their first year in order to offset the money that other teams lose from the prize pot as a result of a new team’s presence.
However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has suggested that this be changed, reminding the governing body that this is a one-time payment and does not mitigate the dilution of the prize fund for the years after that.
Wolff stated that the American would have to prove that his project is capable of “bringing in more money than it is actually costing,” and the doubt that the Austrian has cast over the validity of Andretti’s plan has struck a nerve with Mario.
“Toto Wolff has spoken very openly about our credibility. However, he speaks to me in a different way,” he said.
“I find the criticism very disrespectful because we have been active in motorsport much longer than he has. I respect his success so far, but he has no reason to look down on us.”
Contrary to Wolff’s perceived objections to the idea, Andretti affirms that the FIA are “open” to the prospect of an Andretti Global entry, and that the prospective team have “met all the requirements” to become an F1 team.
With Horner and Wolff pushing back against the idea of the introduction of the American team, Andretti laments the fact that F1’s current owners, Liberty Media, are allowing teams to dictate how much money a new entry should pay.
The 82-year-old does not believe this would have been the case under former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was ousted at the end of 2016.
“We know it’s a sum in the region of $200 million, now I guess they want more, but so far we are waiting to hear back. It’s bordering a bit on usury,” explained Andretti.
“With Bernie it would be different, Liberty gives the teams too much say.”
As for the adeptness of the proposed team, Andretti tells current team bosses in F1 to stop concerning themselves with that aspect, affirming that he has the very best in the industry ready to maximise the team’s performance.
“They always ask how we want to be competitive. I say: let that be our problem! You don’t know our preparations,” he stated.
“We don’t need to sign any new people at all, we have absolutely experienced people who have the necessary knowledge.
“On the financial side, we have credible partners who are aware of the size of the project.
“We’ve been planning for a long time with our programme because it’s everything we want. We deserve more respect.”
The introduction to F1 of Andretti global, who are already well established in IndyCar, would open the door for the likes of young IndyCar star Colton Herta to move to F1 should a move to McLaren fail to materialise.