In an interesting twist to the story of Andretti’s attempt to enter Formula 1 emerged today as they may be missing an engine supplier if they were to get FOM approval.
According to a report from Jonathan Noble over at Autosport, Andretti’s initial engine supply deal with Alpine as a place-holder until they could ramp up their GM engine operation may have expired.
Alpine interim team principal Bruno Famin told Autosport the situation changed earlier this year when its pre-arrangement lapsed.
“We had a pre-contract with Andretti, which has expired because they were supposed to be granted an F1 entry before a given date,” he said.
“It means right now, if we want to do something with Andretti, we need to negotiate a full contract, a formal contract. So right now, we have absolutely no contract with Andretti.”
Whether or not Andretti can get an Alpine engine supply depends on all-new negotiations and a formal contract but they first have to be approved by FOM and if that takes too long, there may be very little Alpine can do to ramp up parts development for Andretti’s program if they leave it too late.
The entire notion of an 11th team has many concerned over the dilution of the prize money the teams currently receive. The prize money is paid out to the top 10 teams and right now that means everyone gets some money for their efforts. It is a harmonious situation. An 11th team would leave one team without any prize money.
Not surprisingly, Alpine has a similar sentiment to other teams regarding Andretti’s bid to be the 11th team. Famin said:
“We have nothing against 11 teams if it really brings real added value to the business as a whole, and to F1 in general,” he said.
“It’s up to F1, to the promoter, to assess what is the real added value an 11th team may bring. And if they evaluate that there is really a big added value, we will be happy with that.
“What we don’t want is that an 11th team dilutes the value of our assets in the championship. Of course, if that will be the case, we will be against that.”
In my mind, I wonder if Honda might be interested given Andretti’s history with Honda in Indycar etc. It seems Honda was poking around about getting back in to F1 so perhaps an engine supply with a racing team they already supply and have a working relationship with might be a good idea?