‘Andretti has found F1’s pressure point with masterstroke Cadillac proposal’

Michael Andretti in conversation. Austin October 2022. Credit: Alamy
Michael Andretti in conversation. Austin October 2022. Credit: Alamy

A respected Formula 1 observer has hailed Michael Andretti’s renewed approach to joining the grid as a masterstroke, claiming his proposal involving General Motors/Cadillac has effectively dared the sport to turn them away.

After previous attempts to gain an entry failed to materialise, Andretti dazzled the F1 world earlier this month by announcing they had joined forces with General Motors through the Cadillac brand in a fresh effort to land a place in the pit lane.

Andretti’s plans have caused a divide among Formula 1, the existing teams and the FIA, whose president Mohammed Ben Sulayem called out an “adverse reaction” in the days following the announcement.

Speaking via his Twitch stream, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor has showered praise on owner Michael Andretti for making his proposal almost impossible for F1 to turn down.

He said: “Michael’s approach is, ‘OK, if I just try to come into Formula 1 as Michael Andretti, I see what’s going to happen now.’

“All the existing teams are going to say, ‘welcome Michael, but no you can’t have a slice of the cake. If you want to come in, you’ve got to buy one of us.’

“And Michael’s saying, ‘I’m not going to waste money buying you guys, I want to do my completely new team and I want to do it my way and it needs to be an Andretti Global team.’

“And they’re saying, ‘well, it’s not going to happen.’

“But now, with the potential tie-up with General Motors/Cadillac as the power unit badger/supplier, it’s not so much of a problem to have to convince the teams to let him create a new team because I think Liberty will be really keen to make it happen.

“I think that’s a bit of a masterstroke by Michael Andretti because he’s using the General Motors/Cadillac link to say to Formula 1 in effect, ‘so you guys don’t want an American engine company in Formula 1, the size of General Motors? You don’t want that?’

“That’s quite a big thing. And then it’s of course up to Liberty to say to the existing teams, ‘sorry guys, this is going to happen and this will benefit all of you.’

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“Now whether they then have to start paying an additional amount to make up for the money the teams are losing to Andretti is another matter. Probably they won’t and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to do that.

“But they will try to say because of this, General Motors opening the door to big American corporate money, Formula 1 will become even bigger in America and as a group, as a company, as an industry, as you teams are as a complete cake, everyone will have more money as a result and we’ve got three races in the United States now to back that up.

“That’s probably what they’ll say and I suspect that’s what will happen.

“Some of the teams will say, ‘yeah, OK, makes sense’ and some of the teams will say, ‘no way am I going to allow Andretti to have a slice of my cake.’

“That is the perennial problem.”

F1’s 2026 engine regulations were written with the specific aim of tempting new manufacturers into the sport, with Audi’s acquisition of the Sauber team seen as a major coup.

Although it is said that General Motors’ involvement with Andretti will be little more than a branding deal to begin with, Windsor believes it would make little sense if F1 rejected the American giants.

He added: “Because of this 2026 rule change to the power units and because the FIA and Liberty are out there saying, ‘we’ve written these rules to encourage new manufacturers to come into the sport – like Audi, like General Motors – then it’s difficult for them to say no.

“Obviously, Audi are coming in with an existing team and that’s what the existing teams would like. They would like General Motors to be ringing them up and saying, ‘look, we would love to finance/badge your power unit for the next 10 years and as a token of good faith we’d like to transfer half a billion dollars to your account tomorrow and we’ve got another three trillion coming in the next five years.

“That’s what every current Formula 1 team would like to happen. Ain’t gonna happen.

“Good luck to Michael for fighting [against] the stream because he’s found a nice little niche of argument, which is, ‘you really want to say no to General Motors? Because I can tell you now, the only way they’re going to come in is with me and if you say no, then we don’t have General Motors in Formula 1.’

“That’s quite a big pressure point.”

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