During the Christmas lunch with journalists, there was also room for a question related to the Andretti issue, which has been the subject of discussion for weeks, with teams and Liberty Media on one side and the FIA on the other. According to Frederic Vasseur, despite being in favor of the entry of an eleventh team, Formula 1 should focus more on adding an American driver to the grid rather than expanding the grid to include a second American team.
An 11-team grid, a nationality issue
“What is Ferrari’s position on the 11th team? It depends on what the 11th team is,” said the team principal of the Prancing Horse. “On paper, there is always room for an 11th team if the teams receive something from Formula 1.”
“We have talked about the origin of the team, but for me, it’s not the right approach to the issue. Formula 1 succeeds where there are winning drivers. Currently, one of the countries where Formula 1 has the most attention is the Netherlands because Verstappen is there.”
“It’s a matter of the nationality of the drivers, not the teams. Currently, we already have an American team, which is Haas, and if we are talking about Andretti, I imagine it will come with the same approach as Haas. If we really want to be successful in the United States, it will be more a matter of having American drivers on the grid and having them succeed, rather than having American teams.”
Andretti, who has received the green light from the FIA, has been in negotiations with Liberty Media for weeks regarding commercial rights. Clarifying the position of the other teams, Vasseur reiterated that the primary need would be to find an American driver, rather than adding another American team alongside Haas.
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Is Ferrari in favor of or against Andretti’s entry?
“For me, having an 11th team and another constructor is fine, but we must bear in mind that when we opened the doors to an 11th team 4-5 years ago, the situation was completely different from the current one,” added the former Alfa Romeo boss.
“Regarding the Concorde Agreement, Ferrari was there, Mercedes was there. Honda was almost out. Renault thought it would continue. It means that there were two constructors and an engine supplier who would continue for another 5 years. We agreed to an 11th team, but if it had not reached an agreement even with just one of the 10 teams present in Formula 1 and had wanted to enter as a constructor of cars and engines, we would have had to find a solution for the well-being of F1.” – the French manager explained.
“Today we are in a somewhat different situation. We have six engine suppliers, and some of my colleagues say that it is too many because we would like to have two teams for each power unit supplier, and we are not in that situation. Returning to what was said before, even for the current situation, it is not a matter of teams but of the nationality of the drivers.” – Scuderia Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur concluded.