We want to sent a shout-out to our friends at Racer magazine, which is reporting a tantalizing possibility: As laid out by Marshall Pruett and Chris Medland, Michael Andretti is apparently in the midst of an active plan to expand the global footprint of Andretti Autosport by purchasing an existing Formula 1 team and becoming a regular at the pinnacle of global racing. Most of the speculation has immediately centered on Haas F1, the U.S.-owned by Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, who’s also one-half of Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR. Haas F1 famously lost both its contracted drivers at the end of the 2020 season, with Roman Grosjean jumping to IndyCar and the team scoring no championship points ever since.
The U.S.-based Haas operation was an obviously engine for the speculation mill, although another team with a troubled recent history, Williams, is another potential Andretti Autosport target. Williams is a Mercedes-Benz engine customer, a status it shares with McLaren, whose boss Zak Brown already partners with Andretti, perhaps most famously on an Australian GT program. Recall that during his own too-brief, ill-starred run as an F1 driver, Michael Andretti was on the roster at Marlboro McLaren, too often as second fiddle to Ayrton Senna as the team evidently fixated on elevating its test driver, Mika Hakkinen, to Andretti’s seat. It’s all very intriguing. According to Racer, Andretti Autosport has filed the necessary paperwork to create a new acquisitions branch with the aim of raising at least $250 million in private equity. That would nicely cover the $200 million buy-in fee for new F1 team owner’s under the sport’s existing Concorde Agreement.