Formula One

Andretti: F1 tie-up with manufacture was Ben Sulayem’s idea

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Mario Andretti says that it was FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem who advised the US outfit to partner with a manufacturer to help its bid to join Formula 1.

Andretti Global’s chances of securing a spot on the grid in the future were boosted earlier this month by the announcement of its tie-up with General Motors and the latter’s Cadillac brand.

While Formula 1 itself offered a lukewarm reaction to the news, Ben Sulayem saluted the joint venture between Andretti and Cadillac, commenting on Twitter that “interest from teams in grown markets adds diversity and broadens F1’s appeal”.

<div>Andretti: F1 tie-up with manufacture was Ben Sulayem's idea</div>

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“He was the one who advised us to look for a partnership with a big manufacturer to give more strength and depth to our project,” F1 legend Mario Andretti told Autosprint.

“That’s where the partnership with Cadillac came from, which means a community of intent with General Motors.”

However, F1’s main constituents still haven’t been sold on the idea as they are reluctant on accepting an eleventh team into the sport, which would equate to an immediate dilution of F1’s prize money fund.

But Andretti is convinced that the family’s presence in F1 will ultimately boost Grand Prix racing’s revenue.

“Money, money… But what money? How much does a big team’s annual revenue go down if we come in?” he said.

“In a situation of exponential growth in Formula 1, to see an American team with a deep-rooted identity in the racing world would be extremely positive for everyone.”

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The FIA is currently in the process of evaluating Andretti’s “expression of interest” and potential F1 endeavor, and that procedure is expected to last a couple of months.

In the interim, back in the US, Andretti is tentatively building up its outfit.

“The truth is that we are structuring the team day by day, as if the green light is already there,” added Mario.

“A programme like this is very complex, so we have to keep moving forward, even if not at top speed, but to put key names under contract we need certainties, so from that point of view we are still on hold.

“Let’s say we could reasonably have an answer within a couple of months.”

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Andretti: F1 tie-up with manufacture was Ben Sulayem’s idea F1i.com.

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