Michael Andretti names two drivers he'd sign as FIA consider his F1 team entry

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Michael Andretti names two drivers he
Michael Andretti names two drivers he'd sign as FIA consider his F1 team entry

Michael Andretti pointed out two IndyCar drivers who are "ready for Formula 1 " as he sweats over the outcome of his own bid to join the sport.

Andretti already runs teams in several motorsport series including IndyCar, Formula E and the Australian Supercars championship. And F1 is next on his list, having teamed up with General Motors and their Cadillac brand to bolster his bid.

It remains to be seen whether his entry will be approved. The FIA has yet to make public the outcome of its expressions of interest process, which invited proposals from prospective new teams wishing to join the grid.

And even if the FIA says yes, there is still the daunting task of persuading the current teams to accept a smaller slice of the F1 pie. So picking drivers for a team which does not yet exist would be somewhat premature.

But Andretti has given a hint as to who he might be taking a look at if his bid is successful. He knows the IndyCar field inside and out and picked out American racer Colton Herta and 2021 title-winner Alex Palou of Spain.

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"I have not the slightest doubt that Alex or Colton are ready for Formula 1," said Andretti. "They have high potential. I'd put both of them in a Formula 1 car in a heartbeat.

Michael Andretti names two drivers he'd sign as FIA consider his F1 team entryMichael Andretti is trying to convince F1 team bosses to let him join the grid (AP)

"I'm sure they can keep up. Lando [Norris] was once Colton's team-mate and they were on the same level. If you look at Lando in Formula 1 now, you know what Colton could do as well."

Palou is in pole position for a second IndyCar title this year. And he already has some involvement in F1 as a reserve and test driver for McLaren, for whom he is expected to race in IndyCar next year.

Herta's trophy cabinet is not quite as impressive, but he has already come within a whisker of landing an F1 seat. He was targeted by AlphaTauri to drive this year, but that plan was scuppered when the FIA refused to grant special permission for him to race without a superlicence.

Andretti's major task right now is to persuade F1 shareholders to give him a seat at the table. Right now, only McLaren and Alpine are believed to be open to him forming a new team, the former due to their business links and the latter because of an engine supply deal in place for if the bid is accepted.

The FIA, at least, does seem view Andretti's bid favourably, because of the partnership with a huge American carmaker. "Imagine me saying no to someone like GM? We have in the regulations that we can go up to 12 teams," said president Mohammed ben Sulayem.

"I'm not breaking [rules] but do we allow anyone to enter? No. But how on earth can we refuse GM? I mean, where's the common sense in this? GM is a heavyweight and when they come with Andretti, that's good for all of us."

Daniel Moxon

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