With Porsche’s attempt to purchase 50% of Red Bull now completely and officially dead in the water, it would make sense for the Stuttgart manufacturer to begin looking elsewhere for ways to get its F1 bid off the ground. While we have explored other avenues, such as buying Alpha Tauri from Red Bull, partnering with Williams, or maybe even Haas, there might be another way that would involve someone Porsche is already allied with in another series. It is something of an open secret that Michael Andretti has been trying to find a way for his American racing team to gain entry to the Formula One grid. He’s been spotted at F1 rounds conversing with other team bosses, lobbying them to allow his team to join their party, and was even rumored to have been in the running to purchase the Sauber team before that deal also collapsed late last year.
Once the plan for Andretti to buy into an existing team had fizzled out like a bottle rocket squelched by an ocean, he jumped right into the plan of launching his own F1 team. Nothing has really been announced since at least May of this year, but the plan was for Andretti Global to launch its new team in 2024 as an 11th constructor added to the grid. The existing ten teams on the grid are hardly willing to allow another new team to join in the fun, however, as it all comes down to money. As part of the agreement for F1 teams with the FIA, each receives ten percent of the prize money payout at the end of every season, and adding another team to the mix would dilute each team’s payout by a similar factor. Because of this, teams instituted a 200 million dollar entry fee during the 2020 ratified Concorde Agreement (sort of the governing rules of teams in F1), a fee which Andretti claims to have ready to pay. As the popularity of F1 continues to increase, the teams fear that twenty million per team won’t be enough to offset the dilution, and still denied Andretti his slot.
One way for both Porsche and Andretti to get on the grid would be together. Andretti as a singular entity, a customer racing squad buying powertrains from an existing manufacturer, may not bring much cachet to Formula One. Porsche, however, is a massive international motorsport legend, and could bring its own 500-pound-gorilla worth of exposure to Formula One and its paddock. One on its own might not move the needle for gaining interest among new viewers, but both together could really get the motorsport juju flowing. As luck would have it, Andretti and Porsche already have a solid tie in Formula E. The Avalanche Andretti Formula E team were once the factory BMW squad for three seasons, but with BMW pulling out of the sport were forced to find a new partner in the Gen 3 regulations set to launch next January. As such Andretti inked a deal with Porsche as powertrain supplier in that series, effectively doubling the number of Porsche-powered machines on the grid.
Pushing some of that connective tissue from Formula E onto the Formula One grid might be a heavy lift for all parties involved, but if you look at it from a certain point of view, it makes all the sense in the world. As someone looking forward to Porsche to join the F1 grid, I’d actually like this move far more than a Red Bull connection. Andretti is an American team, and F1 is growing rapidly among American fans, meaning Porsche would have an ally in that growth, and could gain a quality open-wheel driver like Colton Herta in the process. Who knows, if it goes off well enough, we might see Porsche come back to the IndyCar grid, which would be totally amazing to see. Come what may, I’m excited by this prospect.