As Zak Brown, general manager of McLaren Racing, recently confided, in the form of a euphemism: Michael Andretti knows the “resistance” to register his team for the F1 World Championship.
For fear of diluting revenue, most teams do not welcome the arrival of an 11th team.
This, of course, makes Andretti immensely bitter and he wanted to reiterate his arguments. Specifically: the arrival of another US team would increase the revenue of all teams, by participating in the growth of the US market.
“I try to remind them that there are 350 million people in this country, and yes, there has been an increase in interest here with Drive to Survive, but they shouldn’t just do what they have …”.
“We’re just scratching the surface. They’ve caught the interest of all these new fans, but the fans are a little nervous.”
“They’re confident they have the American public now. But you need something to keep them for the future. And we think we can be such a catchy thing.”
By the way, Andretti claims to have a real American team. In subtext, we can understand that Haas (which has a base in the UK, which outsources to Italy to Dallara and Ferrari) is not really a …
“We are a real American team, we have a real American driver. This is where I think our value is very strong, to keep the fans we just had. »
F1, a European club …?
The former McLaren driver is desperate to see that F1 is still a European club, as during his time in the discipline in the early 1990s.
“It was definitely a European club. »
“And I feel that it is still a European club, as they treat us. Because we would be a threat. The first real international team. »
“It’s a very snobbish approach that they take. In short, we will add more value than we get.”
Andretti against Toto Wolff
Andretti suggests that one or two teams, in addition to McLaren and Renault, would have agreed to support his project. But for the rest of the teams? What could I tell them to finish convincing them?
“I think we have four or five who are definitely by our side. But others wonder ‘What are we going to get out of this?’ »
“That’s what it’s all about, and they’re all short-sighted.”
“I tell them,‘ Okay, you can get this now, but what about what we think we can offer in the future? »
“But they don’t care. They don’t care about the F1 series. They just care about themselves. But that’s how F1 is, it’s always been that way.”
Andretti has Wolff in particular in sight: according to him, Toto Wolff (one of Andretti’s staunchest opponents) fears not the loss of (diluted) income, but the loss of some of his political influence.
“Use this [la dilution] as an apology. »
“But you can see he’s looking at this and he thinks,‘ I’ll have one less voice. It will be one more vote against me, “he said.
“I practically knew what we were getting into here. Swim with sharks. So you better make sure you have your harpoon on. I’m not naive about it.”
“I may have been naive when I got into it when I was a McLaren driver, but thanks to that experience I’m probably not naive now. Everyone has their knife and is ready to stab you in the back.”