May 7 (GMM) Mario Andretti is confident his famous surname will be back on the Formula 1 grid in 2024.
A proposed buyout of the Sauber team fell through late last year, after F1 legend Andretti’s son Michael and his US-based Andretti Autosport outfit agreed a deal.
“I don’t give a crap what anyone says,” former McLaren driver Michael told the Associated Press this week. “We were never going to do a deal in which we bought the team but didn’t have control of the team.”
Now, Michael’s father Mario – the 1978 world champion – says the Andretti organisation is still determined to be on the grid.
Reportedly, the pair are meeting with new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem this weekend in Miami.
“If everything works out, then we will be in Formula 1 in 2024,” Mario, 82, is quoted by Speed Week.
“We have an engine partner,” he added, referring to Renault. “We have the necessary finances, we certainly have the know-how.
“But we have to get everything in order to be able to enter according to the requirements of the FIA.”
Andretti even has an American driver in mind for a race seat.
“Most likely Colton Herta,” Mario said, referring to the 22-year-old Californian who already races for Andretti in Indycar.
“I recognise in him a deep hunger to succeed, also in Formula 1.”
Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei is lukewarm about Andretti’s chances, but he admits that the connection with the lucrative American market is “a positive”.
Michael Andretti revealed: “I talked to Greg and I asked him ‘Just let it go to a bid, we’ll beat everybody’. That’s all I’m asking.
“Let us have a shot. We have great backers. Money is not the issue,” he added.