Looking to the future
Among the many topics touched upon by the team principal of Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, during the recent Christmas dinner in Maranello, there was also a look to the future of Formula 1. In the last year, there has been much discussion about the possibility of an 11th team joining the grid, Andretti Global, which would receive support from General Motors with the commitment of the Cadillac brand. In what is a continuous political battle between Formula 1 and the federation, the FIA has thrown open the doors to the entry of Michael Andretti’s team. Existing teams, on the other hand, are much more skeptical and resistant to expansion.
From this perspective, the position of the head of Maranello, who will begin his second year managing the team in 2024, is similar to that of his friend-rival Toto Wolff, team principal and CEO of Mercedes: there is no desire to add another seat at the table and accept an 11th team on the Formula 1 grid. The French manager has explained in detail the reasons for his conviction, ‘disassembling’ both the hypothesis of greater involvement – through Andretti – of the American audience and the alleged increase in value that the Made in USA team would bring to the Circus.
Andretti? No, thanks
“There has been much talk about the media coverage that a team can guarantee based on its country of origin,” Frederic Vasseur said. “But I don’t think it’s the correct approach. The popularity of Formula 1 in a country depends on the success of a driver. One of the most popular nations for Formula 1 is the Netherlands, because of Max Verstappen. It means that success depends more on drivers than on teams. Andretti would arrive in the same way as Haas. If you want to increase popularity in the United States, you need more American drivers rather than more teams.” – the Ferrari team boss pointed out.
Compared to the pre-Covid era, when perhaps a new team could have been useful to F1, the landscape has radically changed now: “Four or five years ago, when we opened the door to a new team, the situation was completely different,” Fred Vasseur continued. “At that time, Ferrari and Mercedes were in the Concorde Agreement. Honda was about to leave, and Renault was not sure to stay. We had only two confirmed Power Unit suppliers for the following years. We would have accepted an 11th team, possibly a constructor, for the sake of F1. Now we are in a different situation. We have six confirmed Power Unit suppliers, and some of my colleagues say that it is too many because there will not be two teams per engine manufacturer. We are not in the situation of four years ago. An 11th team would not bring added value.” – the French manager concluded.
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