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Mario Andretti Clings to Hope Despite F1 Entry Hurdles

Mario Andretti Clings to Hope Despite F1 Entry Hurdles

08/05/2024

Mario Andretti voices hope and confusion regarding his team’s future in Formula 1 amidst ongoing challenges.

Mario Andretti expressed his frustration with Formula 1’s refusal to allow his entry into the premier category, reiterating his feelings in Miami this weekend during the Grand Prix in Florida.

The team principal lamented a rejection that was not clearly justified, based on poorly established criteria, emphasizing that his team’s goal is always to succeed.

“It’s absurd to think that I could arrive tomorrow and immediately be competitive—I wish I could guarantee that. But what do you think we are here to do? The aim is to be competitive,” Andretti stated, describing the F1’s decision as “depressing, to say the least.”

“Do they think we are here just to participate and be satisfied with that? No, we have never done that in our lives, look at our results. They say we do not add value? Well, I think we bring value and, at the same time, we intend to do things the right way, the best way possible.”

“We have done everything required to satisfy the FIA, and for one reason or another, when the FOM took over, we encountered some resistance. The biggest problem is that there is nothing specific that says ‘if you do this, you are in.’ That is the problem. I hope and pray that reason will prevail.”

Andretti also explained that the escalation of the issue to the US Congress occurred after a recent Red Bull demonstration in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’s because Formula 1 had obviously gained exposure on Pennsylvania Avenue. Many members of Congress knew more about our situation than I thought. They asked me to come and explain why we are not yet allowed to race in F1.”

“I am pleased to see that they have just opened an investigation (this morning, read about it here).”

“We were accused of knowing nothing about business”

The 1978 World Champion is well acquainted with the challenges in Formula 1, having experienced Lotus’s struggles and advancing his team. He regrets the alleged lack of business acumen: “I’ve lived through it myself. I’ve seen teams operate, from a team that was nowhere like Lotus to what it takes to bring it back.”

“It’s about people, we know all that. We were accused of having a lot of passion and knowing nothing about business, but I think we also know a bit about business. All my life, I’ve put bread on the table through racing.”

However, the American is convinced that common sense will prevail: “I am an optimist. I think Andretti will be in F1 in 2026. I am totally optimistic. Everything worthwhile has never been easy for us, but we are resilient, we just want a chance to make sense.”

Yet, he did not hide his feelings of sadness and frustration at not feeling at home in the Formula 1 paddock this weekend: “I come to Miami, I walk around the paddock, people are nice, they invite me, but I don’t have a home.”

“Everywhere I’ve gone in my life, I’ve always had a home, everywhere I went, I was part of a team. For me to be able to live out the rest of my life following Formula 1, I need a home and an F1 team would be my home.”

“What I can say is that we are working on it every day, we are ready to face all challenges. We are preparing in every possible way and our intention is to be on the grid in 2026, it’s feasible, 100%.”

Mario Andretti Clings to Hope Despite F1 Entry Hurdles

Mario Andretti Clings to Hope Despite F1 Entry Hurdles. Mario Andretti Clings to Hope Despite F1 Entry Hurdles

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