Andretti F1 makes first significant hire

Nick Chester is understood to have become the new technical director hire for Andretti F1

Nick Chester is understood to have become the new technical director hire for Andretti F1

Andretti Autosport is understood to have secured the services of former Renault technical director Nick Chester as it ramps up its operations ahead of its hoped-for F1 entry.

After motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, opened the process in early February to recruit new teams to Formula 1, Andretti formally submitted its Expression of Interest bid documentation a few weeks later.

The American organisation, which has been attempting to secure a place on the F1 grid for almost two years, is confident it will finally be accepted once the bid process has been concluded, particularly after announcing a partnership with GM/Cadillac earlier this year.

It has, though, faced considerable opposition from a number of current F1 teams who are concerned its share of revenues will be diluted.

This has resulted in strong suggestions that the anti-dilution fee, a figure new teams have to pay as recompense to the incumbents, will rise from US$200 million to $600m.

Undaunted, Michael Andretti is continuing his pursuit of competing in F1, and has seemingly secured the services of Chester, Speedcafe has learned via sources.

Chester has wealth of experience

Chester is a 25-year F1 veteran after starting out as a race engineer with Arrows in 1995 before taking on the same role with Renault in 2000. He then moved on to the positions of head of the vehicle performance group and later head of performance systems.

When Renault became Lotus, Chester was appointed engineering director and then technical director, the latter role retained when the French manufacturer returned to F1 in 2016.

Chester departed F1 in 2020 to become technical director at Mercedes’ Formula E operation, a position he held for two years prior to joining McLaren in Formula E last September.

On Chester’s LinkedIn page at present, it simply states he has now joined a ‘top-tier motorsport team’ on a ‘full-time’ basis, believed to be Andretti.

Speaking in a media conference call in early February when the GM/Cadillac tie-up was announced, Andretti confirmed then he had already recruited a number of key personnel.

“We’ve done a lot of hiring,” said Andretti. “We have quite a few people already working for us.

“We have hired the main engineers, so yes, we’re very much down the road.

“And we (also) have a technical director already hired, and we’ll announce that down the road as well.”

Speedcafe has contacted Andretti Autosport for comment and is awaiting a response.

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