Mario Andretti says his son is “all in and ready to go” with his F1 team plans and already has a deal in place for a supply of power units.
The 1978 world champion announced last week his son Michael has made an approach to the FIA to enter F1 as a new constructor in 2024. He has now confirmed the team will set up a base in Britain and has agreed a deal with Renault to use their V6 hybrid turbos.
Andretti said the family is pressing on with its plans in order to be ready to take to the grid a little over two years from now and lining up staff with expertise in bringing new entries onto the grid.
“We’re not just new boys in town,” he told David Land in an interview. “We know the prerequisites and also there’s a time factor here. Once we said go ahead, we’ve got to go.
“So a lot of work has been done. We know where the facility is going to be built in the UK. We know we have people, prominent individuals that have done this type of work as far as start-ups. We have a lot of things in mind.”
Earlier this week several F1 team bosses reacted coolly to the news of Andretti’s desire to expand the grid to 22 cars. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said they need to show “what it can do for the other teams, for Formula 1 and the FIA” to deserve a place in the series.
However the former Ferrari F1 driver believes Wolff was concerned his son would agree a deal to use the Scuderia’s engines. That would mean Mercedes and Ferrari supply an equal number of teams, potentially reducing Mercedes’ political clout, a situation which has been averted.
“We have formal agreement now on the engine supplier and it’s out there, it’s going to be Renault and I’m allowed to say it now,” Andretti confirmed. “There was a lot of speculation from Toto Wolff, he was concerned about potentially it being Ferrari, Ferrari would have more votes than he would have, so on and so forth.”
While the Andretti group is already active in many series including IndyCar, he acknowledged that stepping up to F1 would be a “quantum leap” for the team.
“There’s a lot of steps to take here and I understand that, it’s a huge undertaking. But we’re ready for it. We have incredible partners on our side, Michael does, and we’re there for the duration.
“Myself, I’ve been at it for 67 years now so we know what goes on on all sides of the Atlantic. And this is a great undertaking, a wonderful undertaking on Michael’s part. This shows that he’s very, very ambitious in the sport. That’s his business, period.
“We live and breathe motor racing only and he’s at the age now that he has to make the quantum leap, if you will, to be able to give it at least 20, 25 years, a good 25 years in a business. And that’s it, so we’re all in and we’re ready to go.”
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