A long-anticipated announcement became official on Thursday, when Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport, announced they would be submitting an expression of interest to join Formula 1. In a conference call held Thursday morning Michael Andretti made the announcement, and he was joined by Mark Reuss, the President of General Motors, to announce a partnership seeking entry into Formula 1.
The two announced to media members, including SBNation.com, that Andretti Global would be partnering with General Motors to submit an expression of interest to the FIA, with the goal to join the F1 grid. The team would run under the Cadillac brand.
According to a press release provided after the conference call, the partnership “...reunites two iconic American companies with deep motorsports pedigrees and provides the opportunity to build on previous racing accomplishments while expanding international reach for both brands. F1 has seen consistent growth globally and most recently in the U.S. with 2023 races in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas.”
Andretti began the conference call with a brief statement. “Today I’m very excited to announce that Andretti Autosports has partnered with General Motors to submit an expression of interest.” Andretti continued to outline that both GM and Andretti “have a strong interest in racing.”
According to Reuss, a previous relationship between Andretti and GM made the partnership feasible. In his words, GM “...couldn’t be more excited to write this new chapter of racing.”
The vision is clearly an all-American approach to F1. As Reuss framed it, “...this all-American team would run under the Cadillac racing mark.” Andretti himself outlined how, in his mind, this partnership would be the biggest story of the year in racing. “[An] American manufacturer behind an American team with an American driver will be the biggest story of the year.”
The driver in question is Colton Herta, who currently competes in IndyCar for Andretti Autosport. Herta was rumored to join F1 in recent years, and was in contention for a seat with Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season, but those talks broke down. Herta recently signed a multi-year extension with Andretti Autosport which runs through the 2027 season.
Andretti was asked whether he has more optimism now regarding joining F1, and he pointed to the relationship with GM as a reason for his excitement. In his words, the relationship with the manufacturer allows Andretti Autosport to check a huge box. “In the end it is still an FIA series, and the President [FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem] has shared that he would really like to have an 11th team on the grid. He is a racer and he understands the importance of that itself....having our great partnership with Cadillac we have a very good shot at checking every box and being able to be on the grid soon.”
He continued: “We’re bringing one of the biggest manufacturers in the world with us...that was one box we didn’t have checked that we do have checked now...it’s hard for anyone to argue with that now.”
Andretti was also confident that the relationship with GM would put the team on the same level as the current teams on the F1 grid. “Capabilities that GM has is on the level of any F1 team out there.”
Regarding the power units for the cars under this agreement, Reuss addressed that. “We have a signed agreement with a power unit supply to begin with.”
According to Reuss, GM has long been interested in making a move to F1, but for various reasons, those efforts failed to materialize. However, this partnership gives GM a chance to finally realize that dream. “This opportunity and Michael was just really, really important to us....we weren’t searching necessarily, but Michael kicked it off, but I was personally over the moon...it just evolved in a really positive way.”
In a statement on Thursday, F1 outlined that the partnership between Andretti Autosport and GM is just one of several potential new entrants:
“There is great interest in the F1 project at this time with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others.
“We all want to ensure the championship remains credible and stable and any new entrant request will be assessed on criteria to meet those objectives by all the relevant stakeholders. Any new entrant request requires the agreement of both F1 and the FIA.”
Still, when asked about the statement from F1, Andretti maintained his confidence. “[I] 1000% believe [they will be successful in their bid]. We check every box that needs to be checked to enter Formula 1...we’re ahead of our competition to get there.”
This partnership comes as F1 continues its growth in the United States. As noted previously, the 2023 F1 season will see three races in the United States, including the highly-anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix. This season will also see the return of an American driver to the grid, as Logan Sargeant signed with Williams Racing to drive for the 2023 season.