After Brutal F1 Rejection, Could Andretti Turn to NASCAR With $20 Million Charter Investment?

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Andretti has been a hugely successful name in the motorsport arena. It all starts with the legendary Mario Andretti, who is a Formula One champion, a Daytona 500 winner, and an Indy 500 winner. Since then, safe to say that Mario and his son Michael have gone on to build an empire, with Andretti Autosport taking part in IndyCar, Formula E, IMSA, and V8 Supercars. Adding to this, Andretti had been angling to add Formula One to its roster and build its portfolio. Unfortunately, F1 was not willing to play ball and shut them out.
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What caught many people by surprise was the statement where F1 explained the reason behind the snub. According to them, an 11th team would not add any value to F1 on its own. The statement also went as far as to say that they did not believe that Andretti would be competitive. Of course, an insulted Andretti team refuted the claim and disagreed with the decision.
Is Andretti giving up its Formula 1 bid?
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Despite the blow, Andretti still harbors hope to enter the F1 ring. They are being backed by General Motors, who are planning to build its own F1 engine. The idea is to have the engine up and running by the time the 2028 season begins. F1 did throw a lifeline, saying that if Andretti entered as a GM works team or as a GM customer team, it would be more favorable.
According to F1, if a new team came in and took a compulsory power unit, it would damage the championships’ prestige. As per BBC, the statement read, “While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around. We are not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the championship.”
F1’s main gripe has to do with finding an engine supplier for Andretti in the near future. Eventually, the sport concluded that it would be difficult to allow Andretti to use an engine from an existing supplier for a limited period. All this while, they enjoyed close links to the likes of General Motors, who would soon be a rival.
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Could the team stand a better chance if it approached NASCAR?
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The environment could be a lot kinder for Andretti if they headed to NASCAR. NASCAR employs a charter system, and it reportedly costs around $20 million to buy a charter. This essentially guarantees a place on the Cup Series grid will be available for a new team. In other words, it is a safer option for Andretti, and there won’t be too much resistance from rival teams who fear a lesser cut of revenue.
What makes things easier is that the Andretti family has an inside person in the NASCAR Cup Series, namely Marco Andretti. Admittedly, the 36-year-old is competing in the 2024 NASCAR Truck Series. However, the Andretti name itself commands a fair amount of respect in American motorsport circles. Additionally, Andretti Autosport is closely associated with Cadillac, which is an associate of Chevrolet. This is because they both fall under the General Motors umbrella.
Of course, there have been a few questions about Chevrolet’s future in NASCAR. This is largely because the production of the Chevy Camaro is shutting down in 2024, resulting in a limited number of them available to run on the racetrack and the roads. Andretti dipping a toe into NASCAR could also bring in Cadillac as a replacement for Chevrolet. For a more obscure option, Andretti Autosport also has an alliance with Honda in the IndyCar Series, so could the Japanese giants expand their portfolio? It would be a nice bit of competition for fellow Japanese manufacturer, Toyota, as well.
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Admittedly, the recent news about the charter negotiations being suspended throws a spanner in the works, but it should hopefully be resolved soon.

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