Formula 1 already has an American F1 team in Haas, which has seen varied success over the years with scoring a nice selection of points in 2016 to now being back-markers with two rookies. But latest rumour of Andretti Motorsport returning to the sport will make it two US F1 teams.
Andretti Motorsport have rumoured to takeover Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team, with the rumour being they will buy an 80% majority stake in the team.
Andretti Motorsport have a known pedigree in other disciplines such as IndyCar, Indy lights, IMSA, Supercar’s series, Formula E and Extreme E. With rumours of joining F1 it will be their seventh discipline they currently enter.
Michael Andretti has said he is “all hears” should the “right opportunity come along. [It would] be great, but there’s a long way to go if it would happen.”
If the takeover takes place, rumours of American Indycar driver Colton Herta will take the second seat at the team with him alongside Valterri Bottas who’s set to leave Mercedes for the 2022 season. Herta’s current Indycar sponsor Gainbridge will also jump onboard as a sponsor for the team.
Andretti added: “Michael’s general interest in getting into Formula 1 is no secret.
“He has racing in his blood and the team has looked at various opportunities over the years—be it NASCAR, sports cars, or F1. Should the right opportunity come along, we’d be all ears. But, until then, we have nothing new to report.”
One of the main reasons why Andretti is thinking of buying an existing team is due to F1 huge $200 million entry fee to enter the sport as a new team, therefore making it easier to buy an existing team.
Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur has been asked about the rumours but made no comment on the situation.
He said: “I’m the CEO and team principal and this kind of discussions is not with me. It would be with the shareholders and that we have so many rumours and so on that you have to ask the question to the shareholders of the company.”
It’s clear that it’s in F1 intentions to express its interests in the USA, with not just having Haas F1 team as on the grid but also expanding the F1 races it has across a season with COTA on the calendar and the latest addition with the Miami Grand Prix set to take place in May 2022.
Having Andretti Motorsport on the grid creates more interest with its diverse amount of discipline it has making more fans interested in the sport to an American audience.
Andretti are an iconic name in Motorsport with Mario Andretti winning the 1978 F1 season. With rumours of Herta joining the team to take the second seat at the team, it will create a good PR and revenue for the team.
The promotion level he will face will be bigger than most drivers, not just due to his success as a driver and the team, but also the fact that F1 is looking for more races in America. The Andretti and Herta combo will certainly be appealing for Liberty Media.
It also works well for Herta too, as he can fall back on Indycar if his shot at F1 doesn’t go off as he would like. It seems like it will also be useful for the fact that the team, can just transfer him over if F1 fails. Herta intentions have always been to stay in Indycar, racing in America.
“But it otherwise did work out because I got to come home and race in IndyCar and that was my main goal. I’ve always, always wanted to race in IndyCar”
“I know that the time to race in Formula One is short and I would have given that a shot, but I knew I’d always be able to go back to IndyCar. And I always planned to primarily race IndyCar for most of my career,”. explained Herta.
It’s hard to tell however whether that’s due to Herta’s doubts of being in F1, due to him being American. The odds of an American going through the European ranks to make into one of the twenty available seats in F1 is much slimmer than a European driver making it to the grid.
Another factor is also the F1 Super License system, making sure that Herta can go through the ranks with right number of points to be eligible to enter F1 which currently he doesn’t have. The more success in different disciplines the more Super License points.
The USA Grand Prix is set to begin next weekend, with Andretti expected to come over next week to explore is ventures and ideas for the future of the team in F1.