Andretti personal grudge claim denied by F1 bosses

Michael Andretti has suggested a number of F1 teams have a personal grudge against him

Michael Andretti has suggested a number of F1 teams have a personal grudge against him. Image: James Bearne/XPB

A number of F1 team principals have denied holding a personal grudge against Michael Andretti following an apparent claim made by the American motorsport mogul.

Andretti has garnered the support of the FIA after the governing body approved his application to become the 11th team on the grid. The matter is now in the hands of F1 who are further assessing the merits of the bid.

Over the course of the past few months, however, several team bosses have made no secret in opposing an 11th team, believing they have earned the right to continue to enjoy their share of the spoils given the sport’s resurgence since the takeover by Liberty Media, and the increased riches that have followed.

In the team principals’ press conference ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, a question was posed to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, Guenther Steiner at Haas, McLaren CEO Zak Brown, and Aston Martin’s Mike Krack as to whether they held a personal grudge against Andretti.

It was suggested in the build-up to the question that Andretti felt at least half of the current 10 F1 teams were personally against him.

Wolff, Steiner, and Krack, in particular, have previously voiced their objection to an 11th team.

Responding, Wolff said: “I don’t know him! His father (Mario) has a fantastic track record. He’s one of the great names of the sport.

“Andretti, as a racing team, has been doing well in the United States, and they’ve won the Formula E Championship but there’s no grudge.

“If you haven’t really met someone, you can’t have a personal grudge.”

Steiner added: “I know Michael but not very well. I’ve met him a few times, but nothing personal.”

Krack insisted he was “not one of the five”, adding: “I worked with Michael in Formula E in my previous life, and I can only say good things about him and his team.”

As for Brown, he naturally stated he and Andretti are “good buddies” of many years standing, not least through their business enterprises and the fact they are “partners”.

Andretti’s bid for F1 status is strengthened by the fact it is supported by GM brand Cadillac.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently suggested that to further underpin Andretti’s aim, Cadillac would become an OEM in its own right, seen as pivotal in F1 terms.

It sparked the question as to what more Andretti can do to be accepted by the F1 community, although is pushing ahead with its plans as it is due to run a car in the wind tunnel next week.

Despite the many comments in recent months from certain team principals against Andretti’s entry, which would almost certainly have been heeded by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Krack said: “It’s not about being accepted by us guys. We have no say.

“Participation has been granted by the FIA, and there is nothing for us to decide. The topic is with F1.”

Brown reiterated Krack’s point of view that the decision of whether Andretti should be accepted or not was down to the FIA and F1.

“The FIA has put forward their view,” said Brown.

“While the teams all have a voice, we don’t have a say. We have a lot of visibility to the teams that weren’t accepted and the team that has been accepted.

“So therefore, until we know more, it’s hard to say there should be more of this or less of that because we really don’t have any visibility on what’s gone into the decision-making process.”

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