Michael Andretti says his family is “not giving up” in their pursuit of the 11th spot on the Formula 1 grid despite a year of speed bumps.
Having formally submitted their intentions for creating a new team in February of this year, the Andretti Group have found life anything but easy going since then.
The reaction to their bid was hatchwarm in the paddock with many of the current team principals suggesting that an 11th team would only harm their profits.
Even those at the top of the sport were not overly welcoming to the idea with F1 president Stefano Domenicali saying he did not believe the sport needed any new teams.
McLaren’s Zak Brown has proven to be one of the few Andretti allies in the paddock but despite this, the family has been pushing forward with their plans.
Mario Andretti told PlanetF1 in September that they were working as if they had already been given the go-ahead for 2024 and now his son Michael has reiterated that the wheels are still in motion.
“Yeah we’re still moving forward,” Michael said, as reported by The Race.
“We’re still working hard. I think we made pretty good progress in the last couple of months and we’re not giving up.”
Andretti has also announced a new factory is to be constructed in Fishers, Indiana, which will house their current racing teams as well as “future racing initiatives” under the same roof.
The 575,000 square-foot factory is set to cost $200m [£170m] with a target to be operational by 2025.
Despite their willingness to proceed with their plans, there is a growing sense of frustration within the family. Mario Andretti told PlanetF1 he felt as if there had been some “disrespect” aimed at the family.
“Honestly, [the reception] has been extremely disappointing, obviously,” the 1978 World Champion said. “But, at the same time, we’re just trying to come up with whatever is asked of us, we’re trying to satisfy it – I don’t know what else we can do.
“You hear different opinions sometimes, from different teams and so forth, and you wonder why there’s some disrespect out there that I don’t know that’s what we deserve,” he said.
“Our intentions are good for the sport. I don’t know why that investment wouldn’t be good, especially when you’re looking at a season going to 24 races next year, where it’s going to be such incredible stress on all the teams.
“To be able to ensure that you can guarantee a full grid, if you have a team or so potentially dropping out for a race or whatever, at least you have some insurance with 11 teams – that’s 22 prospective drivers out there.”
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