Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull, is interested in the idea of General Motors committing to F1. The American manufacturer plans to launch its Cadillac brand in the premier category, in association with Andretti Global. The British executive believes that it would be a great story for Americans and the Formula 1 audience.
“If GM decided to get involved, the ideal way would be through an existing team,” says Horner. “I’m sure a battle between Ford and GM… these brands have a lot of patriotism in the United States, and a very large number of followers.”
“The Ford brand alone… you’re either a Ford man or a General Motors man, and the resulting competition could be exciting.”
However, the Andretti project is not viewed favorably by team directors, and Horner is no exception. He wonders about the possibility of seeing General Motors enter Formula 1 without the introduction of an 11th team.
“One must question what the economic model underpinning what GM is looking to do. Is it their project? Is it Andretti’s project? If it’s a true GM project and their only option to enter F1 is through an existing franchise, much like Audi is doing, one could hope they would do the same.”
“Not so long ago, there were several insolvent teams, and only recently has the stability of the teams been established. Therefore, it’s understandable why teams are hesitant to expand and dilute, rather than joining one of the existing teams, and that’s the nervousness of the commercial rights holder, I suppose.”
An “Unimaginable” Success for F1 in the USA
Asked about the state of Formula 1 in the United States, he praises the progress made in recent years, but also knows that it mainly comes from the success of Drive to Survive, the Netflix series that explores the behind-the-scenes of the sport.
“If you look at the penetration, you have to acknowledge that a large percentage came from the Netflix series. Ford has returned to Formula 1, which would have been unimaginable four years ago, and five Fortune 500 companies are now represented on our cars.”
“The fan base is growing, the venues are expanding, but I think what Formula 1 needs for its long-term penetration in the United States is competitive American drivers and a driver who is fighting for victories.”
Besides Logan Sargeant, the current Williams driver, Horner notes that many American drivers are now on the trajectory to F1: “There are increasingly more drivers coming from the United States and going through the feeder series, so it’s only a matter of time.”
General Motors Entering F1. General Motors Entering F1