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Andretti is running out of time: Cadillac brings its own technology

Nothing is easy in Formula 1. Especially not applying for a place in the exclusive club of participants. When Michael Andretti and his investors first knocked on the door, it was said that there was only added value for the sport with a builder in the association. When Andretti now introduced a heavyweight as a partner in GM’s premium Cadillac brand, it bothered them that Andretti and Cadillac planned to start with a customer engine.


Critics have accused the American manufacturer of simply wanting to buy a sticker on the cars and the engine. Mario Andretti, on the other hand, reveals that the claim of the world’s second largest automaker is completely different: “It’s not a shooting star or a PR gimmick. GM has its pride. They don’t just want hang on “What interests them in the project. And they know what to expect. General Motors already has a technology center for motorsport. And they will continue to invest in this department to eventually cover all the technical aspects of the car and the engine themselves.”


In fact, the Detroit auto giant already has a racing plant in Concord near Charlotte, where racing in NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA and WEC is technically prepared and supported. Motorsport has become a way for Cadillac and Chevrolet to shed a dusty old image and reposition itself.

Motorsport footage

Mario Andretti is a welcome guest in the Formula 1 paddock. The 1978 world champion last completed a show in Austin aged 82 in a modern McLaren F1.

Old dream about to come true

According to Andretti, even before GM decided on a Formula 1 project, there were plans to market the Cadillac brand more aggressively and make it more international. “Until now, Cadillac was only a luxury brand. But GM also wants to give Cadillac a sportier touch. The Blackwing version of the CT5-V has at least 660 hp. Their campaign is already supported by successes of the IMSA series. Now they also want Le Mans. Formula 1 fits perfectly into their strategy. In fact, Formula 1 should say: Welcome Cadillac.”


Mario Andretti is getting almost a little sentimental about bringing a company that has long neglected motorsport into the premier class. “This could be a historic moment. Do you remember Zora Duntov? He was a Belgian engineer and the spiritual father of the Corvette. I met him at Can-Am races in the late 60s. Like us we both come from immigrant families, we quickly became friends I told Zora at the time that he needed to get GM into big motorsport, ideally Formula 1. He always said : I try, I do my best, but I can’t.


Duntov died in 1996. His old friend is certain: “Zora is sitting up there now, with a smile on his face when he hears that General Motors finally wants to get into Formula 1. They don’t want to adorn themselves with feathers , but I have become a real part of the company. GM is a proud company. They have good know-how in many technical areas and they did not come across this project by accident. They spent five months look at every aspect and if they weren’t fully convinced, they wouldn’t do it.”


Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Cadillac

GM wants to give the Cadillac brand a sportier image with its commitment to Formula 1. There are already high-powered cars in the portfolio, such as the Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing.

All FIA requirements met

Michael Andretti first met with people from GM overseeing the IndyCar project in May 2022 and briefed them on his plans. Father Mario had connections with senior management employees. After generating initial interest, General Motors spent several months looking at all levels of what it could bring on its own.


“When it was reviewed positively, there were discussions with management. A company like GM doesn’t make such a decision by instinct. You also have something to lose if it doesn’t work out. But you feel that that something could come out of this and it’s a good time for the company to fly the motorsport flag,” said the 1978 world champion.


The enthusiasm for the Formula 1 adventure was evident from the fact that General Motors wanted to make the announcement as soon as possible, presumably to avoid anything becoming unofficially public beforehand. The fact that only the FIA ​​and not the F1 bosses knew about it certainly contributed to the reserved comments from the Formula 1 management.


FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem meanwhile went on the offensive and expressed dismay that an alliance between Andretti and General Motors was not welcomed with open arms. He promised candidates a fair application process.


Andretti is convinced that he can transmit it on all levels. “The FIA ​​has already asked us many very specific questions and we have been able to answer all of them to our complete satisfaction. The President has everything in writing that is necessary for an application. demanded. We delivered it. What else should we deliver?”

Cadillac V-LMDh - Daytona 2023

Cadillac

With the new V-LMDh, Cadillac is already playing in the top motorsport league, at least in the Le Mans prototype class.

Long-term Formula 1 project

In the end, Formula 1 would also have to agree if the club were to be expanded to eleven teams. Within the London executive, they hide behind the assertion that there are even more stakeholders and that everyone should be treated according to the same standards. You can’t pick one just because the name of the app sounds appealing. You also need to make sure the applicant has honest motives and is not selling their franchise for a profit after a few years.


Andretti can take that worry away from Formula 1: “It’s a long-term project. Look at our history. Everyone can see what motorsport means to our family. It’s our life. to no series for a short time to make a profit We have already invested a lot and hired engineers who are just waiting to start, if they had not believed in us, they would have left long ago.


Andretti is also pushing for a move for this reason. He cannot keep his partners out of patience forever. It would be realistic to start as early as the 2025 season. You don’t want to wait until 2026 because Cadillac doesn’t want to enter the new tech regulations unprepared. Right now, everyone is working as if the green light was already there.

Michael Andretti & Mohammed bin Sulayem - F1 2022

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Racing team boss Michael Andretti has fulfilled all the requirements of the FIA. Now only Liberty F1 owners need to accept an entry.

Ford vs GM just a dream?

Andretti admits time is running out. If a definitive answer doesn’t come soon, the key players already hired might change their minds. They only stay on board if Formula 1 works. These are people who have already worked in Formula 1 and who have experience of it.


Input should always be based on the Haas model. Andretti will have to join another team at first and then learn as fast as possible to do more and more himself. The partner of choice has already been determined in Renault. However, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner warns that newcomers will not have it as easy in the future as it has been for him: “In the meantime, some privileges that we still had were confiscated from us.” For example, free wind tunnel tests.


Andretti wants to build the cars and their parts in the United States, but runs the operational business from England. A new racing plant is to be built in the state of Indiana by 2025. At the same time, the Cadillac think tank facilities in North Carolina are in use and continually expanded.


Michael Andretti said he was optimistic that his candidacy would eventually be accepted despite all the resistance. His father also sees no reason for a rejection: “No one could understand if Formula 1 rejected a major American manufacturer. And if Ford also came, then it would be a dream. 1 challenge others? It is an infallible success. I want to stay positive no matter what.


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